NASA wants to send your art on a round-trip to space

Art meets asteroid.

NASA will take your artworks on a spacecraft this year. The exploration agency has launched a new We The Explorers campaign that's encouraging people to send in a piece of art for OSIRIS-REx, the first American mission that's expected to bring back a small sample of asteroid Bennu for scientists to study on Earth. The submissions, loaded on a chip, will be carried on board the vessel in September.

With this initiative, NASA is inviting the public to participate in space exploration in a tangible way. From a previous "messages to Bennu" campaign, the mission already has a collection of more than 442,000 names that will travel to the asteroid. By putting identifiers and artistic expressions on a spaceship that is expected to return with a sample of the asteroid in 2023, NASA's created a unique time capsule that will be traveling and living in space.

"Space exploration is an inherently creative activity," said Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for OSIRIS-REx at the University of Arizona, in a NASA report. "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 possibilities for this art-meets-asteroid mission are wide open. You can send in a sketch, a song, a video or any other creative format that expresses your vision of what it means to be an explorer. NASA's accepting submissions via social media until March 20, so you have a month to send your favorite cat GIF to space.

[Image credit: Getty Images]