I came across this over the weekend and since I don’t have the millions to send myself to space, I’ll be sending my name!
NASA is launching a mission to visit the asteroid Bennu in 2016 to collect a sample and return this to earth. The science mission has been called OSIRIS-REx which stands for Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer. The abbreviated name sounds like a newly discovered dinosaur, or is that just me?!
The idea behind this mission is for scientists to gain insight into how the solar system formed and evolved. Once there, the spacecraft will spend 500 days on the asteroid before being loaded on to the Sample Return Capsule and returning to Earth in 2023.
So why am I interested in this mission? Well, you can submit your name and “hitch” a ride to the asteroid! A campaign has been put in place allowing anyone to submit a name to send to the asteroid. The names will all be loaded onto a chip in the spacecraft before departure. If that wasn’t enough, all the names submitted will be printed on the side of the spacecraft which will remain in space long after returning the Sample Return Capsule to earth.
You can submit your names from now until 30 September 2014. But hurry because this is proving very popular.
Head over here to submit your name and you’ll receive a certificate just like mine.