NASA is shooting this art into space (but not for the reasons you'd think)

Use the hashtag #WeTheExplorers and your own artwork could be sent to an asteroid, too!

Space Dragons

One of the many submissions to #WeTheExplorers, an art project from NASA that invites the public to shoot their creative work into space. (Twitter/@KodarDragon)



This September, NASA will launch a mission to collect the first ever geological sample from an asteroid, hoping to solve the mystery of very origins of life.

At the same time, they'll also be shooting a whole pile of art into space.

Your art, if you like.

And whether you dabble in painting or sketching or poetry or music or animated GIFs of pepperoni pizza, there's a place for your work on board the spacecraft OSIRIS-REx. On this mission — campaign name: We the Explorers — all forms of creative expression are welcome.

"Space exploration is an inherently creative activity," Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for OSIRIS-REx at the University of Arizona, said in a statement about the campaign launch. "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."


Gallery in space! An artist's conception of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft at Bennu. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre)

And while there's something funny about imagining children's crayon drawings of astronauts orbiting Earth in the space junkyard of busted satellites and old rocket stages until the end of time, this art collection will be purely digital, collected via social-media posts and housed on a drive inside the unmanned spacecraft.

To submit your work, just use the hashtag #WeTheExplorers and tag @OsirisREx on Twitter or @OSIRIS_REX on Instagram.

NASA will accept work published to YouTube and Vimeo, as well; just link to your videos in an appropriately tagged tweet. (More technical guidelines can be found at the campaign's website.)

You have until Sunday, March 20 at 11:59 pm PT to join the mission. All skill levels are encouraged to participate, as is already apparent from the current submissions. And artists are asked to reflect on these questions from the OSIRIS-REx team when creating a piece:

Have a look at some of the art that's expected to go where no unicorn painting has gone before…

Starburst by Sandra Duran Wilson #WeTheExplorers

A photo posted by Sandra Duran Wilson (@sduranwilsonartist) on

Moonage Daydream @osiris_rex #WeTheExplorers

A photo posted by Sabrina Nowling (@sabrinanowling) on

"The Map Is Not The Territory" by Ati Maier #atimaier #timoseidel #wetheexplorers @osiris_rex @hollypop213

A photo posted by Timo Seidel (@bullvvinkle) on

NASA Mom! By Katherine Guethe. @OSIRISREx, #WeTheExplorers.

A photo posted by @mguethe on

#wetheexplorers @osiris_rex #night #sky #vision #nightmare #art #for #universe

A photo posted by @russiansnob on

Contribution to the @NASA @osirix_rex mission #WeTheExplorers campaign

A photo posted by DaMian Wojcik (@damian_wojcik_artist) on

OSIRIS-REx is scheduled to return from the asteroid Bennu in 2023. Learn more about the mission, and the Canadian Space Agency's contributions to it, on CBC News. As for the We The Explorers art project, more details can be found at its website

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