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Nasa is opening an art gallery in space

The US space agency wants to fly your artwork into space, because why not

You’d be forgiven for forgetting that space was supposed to be the final frontier for humanity. We’re so casual about it all now that actual space travel is barely on the agenda. We’re too busy filming pornos up there, making perfume off comets, and pouring millions into zero-gravity ‘sex gecko’ missions. And now, just to add to that majestic pile, Nasa have decided to open an art gallery on an asteroid. 

The project, which will be launched on near-Earth asteroid Bennu, is hoping to become the first ever extra-terrestrial art gallery, and will consist of artwork collected from an open social media campaign. According to the US space agency, any interested artists just need to tweet their pieces to @OSIRISREx, along with the hashtag #WeTheExplorers, before the March 20 deadline.

“Space exploration is an inherently creative activity,” says Dante Lauretta, the mission’s principal investigator. “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.”

The selected pieces will be put on a chip, and added to the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission – which aims to bring a piece of asteroid back to earth. The spacecraft that lands on it will then swap the sample for the chip, leaving the digital ‘gallery’ to hurtle freely through space on the back end of the asteroid.

It’s a cute touch – but if you’re wondering what the reason for this is, it seems like not even NASA knows. “The development of the spacecraft and instruments has been a hugely creative process, where ultimately the canvas is the machined metal and composites preparing for launch,” stated Jason Dworkin, the OSIRIS-REx project scientist. “It is fitting that this endeavor can inspire the public to express their creativity to be carried by OSRIS-REx into space.”

The mission is set to launch in September, and has a predicted contact time of 2018. Submissions can include sketches, photographs, poems, songs, videos, or any other “creative or artistic expression that reflects what it means to be an explorer”.

Read more about the project on the official website here.