Well, OK; I’M not physically going into space, but my name is.
Around a year ago, I heard about an initiative called Messages to Bennu , run by The Planetary Society, whereby you could sign up to have your name sent into space on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission.
Set to launch sometime within a 39 day long window, starting 3rd September 2016, OSIRIS-REx will be the first U.S. mission to return samples from an asteroid to Earth.
It will take the spacecraft a little under two years to reach Bennu, the asteroid in question, at which time work will begin on its primary objective of collecting samples of what is believed to be pristine carbonaceous material from the early Solar System. Once collected and returned to Earth, it is hoped that the analysis of this material will provide important clues to the origin of life on Earth and the likelihood that life may have originated elsewhere in our solar system.
Again, there is no concrete time for return, but the window for departure opens in March 2021; putting OSIRIS-REx on a trajectory that will intersect the Earth’s orbit in September 2023.
So yeah, thanks to NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission and The Planetary Society, my name will hitch a ride to asteroid Bennu and spend 500 days there before returning to Earth in the Sample Return Capsule; a seven year round-trip!
There are also plans to store the same data elsewhere on the spacecraft, so “I” will also continue to remain in space long after the sample return capsule returns to Earth.
They even supplied me with a rather nifty little certificate:
With a September 2014 deadline, you’ve missed the opportunity to add your name to this mission, but by signing up here, you can receive notifications from The Planetary Society and you’ll be able to find out about next time they are sending names into space!
What you haven’t missed is the deadline for my Stationery Giveaway, so if you haven’t entered yet : DO IT NOW!!