3,350 repurposed space blankets at the Burning Man Festival

Russian entrepreneur Alexander Shtanuk has started a crowdfunding campaign to fun a project that aims to transform discarded NASA space blankets to create a shady area for festivalgoers of the Burning Man festival in Nevada.

The space blankets, also known as emergency blankets, are made from lightweight and strong BoPET polyester film, a stretched of version of PET, coated with a metallic agent that reflects up to 97 per cent of the heat. Each blanket is about 2.1 by 1.6 metres.

The space blankets were originally developed by NASA in 1964 for the US space programme. They are made by vacuum depositing pure aluminium vapour onto a very thin, durable film substrate. In first aid, the blankets are used to prevent or counter hypothermia. However, the blankets are often discarded after a single use.

Shtanuk aims to give 3,350 of these blankets a new life by turning them into one giant canvas of 100 by 100 metres held together with 40 km (25 miles) of reinforced tape at the Burning Man Festival, taking place in the Nevada desert from 26 August to 4 September 2018.

The installation will be allowed to billow in the desert wind. During the daytime of the festival, the blanket will be used as a shadowed rest area, or a seating area. According to Shtanuk, “At night hundreds of people in el-wire [electric luminescent wire] suits will get together under the blanket creating an effect of oceanic bioluminescent plankton or moving waves of equalizer.”

Shtanuk is currently holding a fundraiser at Indiegogo. The funds will be used for buy the materials, build space rental, transportation from Russia to the festival and excavator and equipment rental. However, with only one day to go and not even a tenth of the funds, it looks like the project won’t see the light of day this year.

Photos: Alexander Shtanuk