Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Headshot of Bruce Betts

Fly your name to an asteroid!

Posted by Bruce Betts

15-01-2014 12:28 CST

Topics: Messages from Earth, Planetary Society Projects, fun, asteroids, events and announcements, OSIRIS-REx

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission and The Planetary Society invite people worldwide to fly their names on a round-trip ride to the target of the OSIRIS-REx mission, the asteroid Bennu. OSIRIS-REx is an unmanned robotic mission, but thousands of names will be hitching a ride to the asteroid, spend over 2 years there, and return to Earth in the Sample Return Capsule 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.

The campaign is called Messages to Bennu! 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 (Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer) mission. You can submit names until September 30, 2014.  Messages to Bennu! is part of The Planetary Society's Messages from Earth program. The Planetary Society and NASA's OSIRIS-REx carried out a naming competition that led to the naming of the asteroid Bennu.

UPDATE: JANUARY 16: We are experiencing very high traffic loads on our server. You should be able to submit your name right now (if not, try back a little later), but you may not be able to print your certificate immediately.  If you get a notice that we have temporarily disabled certificate access to better deal with name entry server loads, you can always come back to get and print your certificate using either your first and last name and email address entered, or using your certificate number.  We are sorry for any inconvenience.  Be assured that if you enter/entered your name and got to the pop up window telling you your name will fly, then your name is in the database and will fly and you will be able to return and get your certificate as traffic loads on the server go down. If you did not receive a certificate number or if you don't remember it, but if you got to the pop up window saying "Success," then you will be able to get the certificate with your name and email).  We appreciate your patience.

Submit your name now!

OSIRIS Messages to Bennu sample certificate
OSIRIS Messages to Bennu sample certificate
Sample certificate like that you can get after submitting your name to the Messages to Bennu! campaign on The Planetary Society web site as part of its Messages to Earth campaign in collaboration with NASA's OSIRIS-REx.

Note that all Planetary Society members names will eventually be included automatically, but we encourage members to submit names of family members and pass along the opportunity to friends.

OSIRIS-REx grabs a sample

OSIRIS-REx grabs a sample
Screen capture from this video.

Here are some quotes on this opportunity from the heads of the OSIRIS-REx mission and The Planetary Society:

“I’m thrilled to be able to share the OSIRIS-REx adventure with people across the Earth. To Bennu and Back! It’s a great opportunity for people to get engaged with the mission early and join us as we prepare for launch in 2016,” said Dante Lauretta, Principal Investigator of the OSIRIS-REx mission.

Bill Nye, the CEO of The Planetary Society, said, “We'll put your name aboard a spacecraft that goes out to an asteroid… and back. You'll be part of humankind's exploration of the Solar System. How cool is that? At the Planetary Society, we engage the citizens of Earth in space exploration. The OSIRIS-REx names collection fits right in.”

The OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission is the third NASA New Frontiers mission. It will launch in 2016, rendezvous with Bennu in 2018, and return in 2023. The University of Arizona leads the mission, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center provides project management, and Lockheed Martin builds the sampling mechanism and spacecraft. The Planetary Society is collaborating with the OSIRIS-REx project on various efforts to further engage the public in the mission.

See other posts from January 2014


Or read more blog entries about: Messages from Earth, Planetary Society Projects, fun, asteroids, events and announcements, OSIRIS-REx


sourav das: 01/18/2014 11:02 CST

I am happy & exited name will go in space ..

simone moino: 01/18/2014 11:35 CST

This is a fantastic and electrifying idea!!!

mahmoud ibrahim: 01/19/2014 12:57 CST

i feel deep my heart happy

rajan shukla: 01/24/2014 09:57 CST


Eugene Kutsyk: 01/28/2014 04:01 CST

Great idea! Thank you for the opportunity!

Andy Tabberer-Catt: 02/01/2014 06:46 CST

I feel out of this world to be a part of this mission, with my name in space!

bigbarc : 02/25/2014 02:28 CST

What am awesome idea AND it's totally FREE 😚

scientistvasudeva: 03/16/2014 07:52 CDT

when r we going to space OSIRIS-REx and what is the age limit fo it

Matthew Atkins: 03/20/2014 07:51 CDT

So the asteroid Bennu is literally going to be the one with our name on it.

VIVEKANANDA MAITY: 04/16/2014 04:25 CDT

How I send my name

TWR_SF-Forum_Germany: 07/21/2014 04:24 CDT

My 2nd journey to Deep Space. A few days before registrated with MASCOT and now with O-Rex to Bennu. The sample return is more funny! It's nearly like if my dust would be in space for eternity.

Prem Maingra: 08/07/2014 11:46 CDT

I am very much exited as my and my family members name will go in space

Mary LeNoir: 08/23/2014 10:06 CDT

I am excited about the launch 2016 as my grandson worked on the project, Kevin Stout

Anonymous: 08/28/2014 07:15 CDT

how can i get some posters of this mission for my classroom, the students are very excited and some posters would hekp, thanks, paul mcgahagan

Karen Hames: 08/29/2014 07:04 CDT

Paul, the OSIRIS-Rex team has media available for you to download as well as some educational videos. There are some great resources you can use for your classroom:

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

Planetary Defense

An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.


Featured Images

LightSail 2 and Prox-1
Bill Nye at LightSail 2 pre-ship review
LightSail 2 pre-ship review team photo
Swirling maelstrom
More Images

Featured Video

Class 9: Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join The Planetary Society

Let’s explore the cosmos together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!