NASA will send your artwork to an asteroid

Artists and explorers, get ready

WeTheExplorers art campaign

NASA is inviting anyone with an interest in space exploration to submit a piece of artwork to be sent in a spacecraft on an upcoming mission to an asteroid.

Scheduled to launch in September, the space agency's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will journey to Bennu, a near-Earth asteroid, in hopes of collecting about 60 grams (2.1 ounces) in samples.

Scientists are expecting the samples to include "clues to the origin of the solar system and the source of the water and organic molecules that may have made their way to Earth," according to a press release.

An art capsule for the galaxy

As this will be the first mission of its kind for NASA, the agency is hoping to include the public by asking those interested for a piece of art that expresses "how the mission's spirit of exploration is reflected in their own lives."

The artwork can be a "sketch, photograph, graphic, poem, song, short video or other creative or artistic expression." You can submit your creation through Twitter or Instagram by March 20, and NASA has compiled a full set of guidelines.

Submissions will be included on a drive to be placed on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. It will also carry a chip with more than 442,000 names submitted through the 2014 Messages to Bennu campaign.

Part of the OSIRIS-REx will eventually make it back to Earth in 2021, though not all of it: Only the spacecraft's sample capsule will return to our surface. The rest, including the drive of artwork, "will stay in space for millennia," according to principal investigator for OSIRIS-REx, Dante Lauretta.

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