'Spaceship Earth' collapses into rubble

"Spaceship Earth" sits in a pile of stone and bronze after falling apart on the campus of Kennesaw State University, in suburban Atlanta.
"Spaceship Earth" sits in a pile of stone and bronze after falling apart on the campus of Kennesaw State University, in suburban Atlanta.Jim Bolt / Kennesaw Sta / Kennesaw State University
/ Source: The Associated Press

A million-dollar stone sculpture, intended to remind future generations of the Earth’s fragility, made its point a bit early — just three months after its unveiling, it collapsed.

The 175-ton “Spaceship Earth” lay in ruins at Kennesaw State University after mysteriously falling to pieces last week.

The engraved phrase “our fragile craft” was still visible amid the debris.

“Kind of ironic,” said Mary-Elizabeth Watson, a university employee. “I had no idea it was made up of so many pieces.”

University officials say they suspect water damage or glue failure, but agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are also looking into the possibility of vandalism, said Frances Weyand, a spokeswoman for Kennesaw State.

The Finnish-born sculptor who goes by one name, Eino, had called the work “Spaceship Earth” to honor environmentalist David Brower, a leader of the Sierra Club. With a 15-foot diameter, it depicted a life-size bronze figure of Brower standing atop the globe. The founders of California-based PowerBar had paid for it.

“How can stone collapse by itself?” Eino asked. “I’m devastated.”

The globe also had 2,400 bronze pieces attached to its face.

Photo by Jim Bolt/ Kennesaw State University. The artwork of Spaceship Earth sits in a pile after falling apart on Campus on Thursday night December 28 or Friday morning December 29. The artwork was unveiled in October and weighed 175 Tons.

He said he used a resin made specially for stone, worked with an engineer and was assured that the globe would stay in one piece.

Eino, who lived in Georgia in the late 1990s and now lives outside Las Vegas, vowed to restore “Spaceship Earth” to its former glory, with structural modifications. Rebuilding will start as early as next month, he said.

“I want to rebuild it and build it stronger than ever,” Eino said. “It has to be made safe.”

The artwork also had a time capsule within the sphere containing articles, essays, and answers to the question: “What can we do to save Planet Earth?”

The idea was to keep it sealed for 1,000 years.