Are you a writer, musician, or visual artist who wants to share your talent with the entire solar system? Here's your chance: NASA is now inviting members of the public to send their works of art to an asteroid in space.
In September 2016, a new NASA spacecraft called the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (or OSIRIS-REx for short) will travel to the asteroid Bennu. The spacecraft will arrive in 2018 at the 538-yard space rock, where it will collect a 2.1-ounce sample and bring it back to Earth for scientific study in 2023. According to NASA, it’s the first U.S. mission to attempt this feat.
In honor of the far-flung journey, the space agency recently launched its #WeTheExplorers campaign. It encourages individuals to submit their sketches, photographs, graphics, poems, songs, short videos, or other works of “creative or artistic expression” that provide a personal take on the mission’s theme of exploration. Submissions will be collected on the mission site, saved on a chip, and launched into space along with OSIRIS-REx. (The spacecraft already carries a chip that contains 442,000 names submitted two years ago through NASA’s “Messages to Bennu” campaign.)
“Space exploration is an inherently creative activity,” said Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for OSIRIS-REx at the University of Arizona, Tucson, in a press release. “We are inviting the world to join us on this great adventure by placing their art work on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, where it will stay in space for millennia.”
Formerly known as Asteroid 2012 DA14, Bennu whizzed within 22,000 miles of our planet on February 15, 2013. Since the asteroid reportedly veers close toward Earth every six years or so, scientists think it could eventually collide with our planet in 2182. They hope that the asteroid sample return mission will help them learn more about Bennu. According to Smithsonian, the asteroid might reveal clues about the origins of the solar system—and life.
Works will be accepted via Twitter and Instagram until March 20. Interested in sending your compositions, paintings, or poems to the far reaches of space? For more details (and awesome interactives), check out the mission's official website.