January 15, 2014
NASA is inviting people around the world to submit their names to be etched on a microchip aboard a spacecraft headed to the asteroid Bennu in 2016.
The “Messages to Bennu!” microchip will travel to the asteroid aboard the agency’s Origins-Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft. The robotic mission will spend more than two years at the 1,760-foot (500-meter)-wide asteroid. The spacecraft will collect a sample of Bennu’s surface and return it to Earth in a sample return capsule.
“We’re thrilled to be able to share the OSIRIS-REx adventure with people across the Earth, to Bennu and back,” said Dante Lauretta, principal investigator of the OSIRIS-REx mission from the University of Arizona in Tucson. “It’s a great opportunity for people to get engaged with the mission early and join us as we prepare for launch.”
Those wishing to participate in “Messages to Bennu!” should submit their name online no later than Sept. 30 at:
After a person submits their name, they will be able to download and print a certificate documenting their participation in the OSIRIS-REx mission.
“You’ll be part of humankind’s exploration of the solar system –How cool is that?” said Bill Nye, chief executive officer of The Planetary Society, the organization collecting and processing the entries.
image credit: NASA GSFC, Chris Meaney