NASA invites social media users to submit art to be exhibited on an asteroid in #WeTheExplorers drive

NASA's OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft

Nasa has launched a new social media engagement campaign which is inviting the public to create art that will be sent to an asteroid as part of a landmark mission which could provide clues to the origin of the solar system and life on earth.

The #WeTheExplorers campaign is giving the public the chance to have their art taken aboard its new spacecraft, adeptly named the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-Rex), and placed on the Bennu asteroid.

The works will have to express how the mission’s spirit of exploration is reflected in their own lives and can take the form of “a sketch, photograph, graphic, poem, song, short video or other creative or artistic expression that reflects what it means to be an explorer.”

Submissions are being accepted via Twitter and Instagram and will then be saved on a chip on the spacecraft and inserted into the 492 meter asteroid which passes by earth every 6 years. “

Space exploration is an inherently creative activity,” said Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for OSIRIS-REx at the University of Arizona, Tucson. “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.”

NASA believes that the Bennu asteroid may hold 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. The mission, which is scheduled to launch in September, will collect a sample of at least 60 grams of material from the asteroid and return it to Earth for study.

Interest in the asteroid has heightened following calculations which predict that there is a high probability that it could hit the earth in the year 2182. The move builds on Nasa's increased engagement across its social channels to with fans.

Recent moves include the first ever 'Ask Me Anything' Q&A on Tumblr with astronauts on the International Space Station and a retro space holiday posters which were commissioned to promote space tourism.

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