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NASA invites eternal tweets to an asteroid and beyond

NASA has again requested public submissions for two time-capsules that will accompany the OSIRIS-REx asteroid spacecraft to the asteroid Bennu. The launch is scheduled for 2016 and the return is scheduled for 2023. The announcement was made on Sept. 3, 2014, at the OSIRIS-REx mission website.

Artist's concept of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft collecting a sample from the asteroid Bennu.
NASA – public domain as a work of NASA.

Naturally, there is limited space and rules do apply. One time-capsule will be returned to Earth with a four pound sample of the asteroid Bennu. The other time-capsule will wander through space for eternity. The journey is about 3.9 billion miles.

Messages can be about space exploration, science, engineering, and other subjects now and in 2023. Predictions of events in the years to come will be given a priority. When the spacecraft returns the asteroid sample in 2023, NASA will examine the tweets and compare the predictions to what actually happened.

To be considered you need to tweet a concise and obviously clever forward-looking statement to #AsteroidMission on Twitter. NASA also suggests tagging OSIRIS-REx on Instagram with the hashtag #AsteroidMission and your thoughts accompanied by any photos. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 30, 2014. At present 350,000 messages have been selected and there is room for 150,00 more.

The OSIRIS-REx mission is designed to access the potential for asteroid impact on Earth in the future. The tweet campaign is a publicity campaign to involve the public in space travel. This may be one of the few chances that ordinary people get to send their thoughts into space for eternity and to an asteroid. Even if you do not live to 2023 this is a chance to have part of you travel through space for all time.

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