January 15, 2014 – NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission and The Planetary Society invite people from around the world to submit their names for a round-trip voyage to asteroid Bennu, the target of the OSIRIS-REx mission. The campaign is called Messages to Bennu! OSIRIS-REx is an unmanned robotic mission, but the campaign will give thousands of people the chance to have their names ride in the Sample Return Capsule on board the spacecraft. The spacecraft will launch in 2016, spend over two years studying Bennu, and then return to Earth in 2023.
A copy of the names will also be placed on the spacecraft, which will remain in space long after the sample return capsule is back on Earth.
“I’m 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. “It’s a great opportunity for people to get engaged with the mission early and join us as we prepare for launch in 2016”.
Bill Nye, the CEO of The Planetary Society, commented, “Through this campaign, we'll put your name aboard a spacecraft that will travel to an asteroid and back, making you an active participant in humankind's exploration of the Solar System. How cool does that sound? At the Planetary Society, our mission is to engage the citizens of Earth in space exploration and the Messages to Bennu! campaign fits right in with this belief.”
Participants who like the mission on Facebook will receive updates on the location of their name from launch until sample return and be kept abreast of mission progress and late-breaking news.
Those who submit their names to the Messages to Bennu! campaign will be able to download and print a certificate documenting their participation in the OSIRIS-REx mission. This campaign runs until September 30, 2014.
For more information about the OSIRIS-REx mission, visit
And to see 321Science videos about the mission and asteroids, visit
To submit your name to the Messages to Bennu! campaign, visit