The only artifact on the moon is Belgian

What not many people know is that Belgian artist Paul Van Hoeydonck is the only artist in the world who has a work of art on the moon. The statuette fallen astronaut went with the Apollo 15 to the moon in 1971 and it is still there in the exact position that David Scott, the commander of the mission had put it in.

Picture Courtesy Of NASA 

The "Fallen Astronaut" came on the moon because the crew of the American Apollo 15 space mission wanted to make a personal gesture in honor of the American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts who had given their lives for the development of space exploration. The then three recently killed cosmonauts of the Soviet mission Soyuz 11 reinforced this desire.

David Scott met Paul Van Hoeydonck at a food festival. Scott knew that Van Hoeydonck used the theme of space travel in his art and discussed the idea of a statue with him. This led to the agreement that Paul Van Hoeydonck would make a statue to place on the moon.

Van Hoeydonck received a number of design guidelines from David Scott. The statue had to be light and sturdy and be able to withstand the extreme temperature differences on the moon. The figurine also had to be gender-less nor appear to belong to a particular ethnic group. Because David Scott did not want to commercialize the space, the name of Paul Van Hoeydonck would not be made public.

Picture Courtesy Of NASA

On 2 August 1971, David Scott placed a memorial plaque on the moon at the end of the last spacewalk of the Apollo 15 mission. This contains the fourteen names of all the then-known perished astronauts and cosmonauts. Scott placed the "Fallen Astronaut" statuette next to it in a fallen state.