Zenolith - An Interplanetary Time Device


Che-Wei Wang

Che-Wei Wang

On Earth, morning, noon, and night have their own specific meanings. The feeling of a second or a minute passing by, the shortening of the days in the winter, the use of terrestrial time zones, the importance of certain celestial events, all of these phenomena are linked to the ways in which we travel through the solar system on our spaceship Earth.

As we adopt other spaceships: whether on the ISS, the Moon, Mars, or beyond, the relationships we have with time, and with each other, will fundamentally shift. 

A “lunar day” will be different from a “martian day”, or a day on the ISS, and our ability to relate to, communicate, and understand one another will have to reflect these new lived realities. With Zenolith, we attempt to conceptualize and represent the diversity of experiences an interplanetary species might have, grounded in the concept of spacetime.  

This project proposes a novel free-flying pointing device to orient space travelers in the universe. Composed of a set of nested spheres and enclosed by a harness, an internal sphere remains fixed, pointing to a target regardless of the traveller’s location and orientation. Like a sextant, the outer shell provides an interface for the traveller to measure the angle between two bodies. The outer shell can be manipulated to aim at another body in space with the help of the side scope. The angle between the two bodies can then be determined by reading the offset angle between the inner sphere and the outer shell.