Last Chance to Send Us a Postcard from Venus!

For Immediate Release
19 Dec 2005

Mat Kaplan
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +1-626-793-5100

Less than a month remains to submit entries to The Planetary Society's Venus Express Art contest, which ends January 13, 2006. The European Space Agency's (ESA) Venus Express mission will be the first spacecraft in more than 10 years to visit our nearest planetary neighbor. The Society has teamed with ESA to invite youths and adults worldwide to enter a contest for a chance to win a trip to mission control in Darmstadt, Germany when the spacecraft arrives at its destination in April 2006.

Venus, shrouded under a dense haze, is a world steeped in mystery. Often called our sister planet, Venus is nearly identical to Earth in size and mass, yet its surface temperature is hotter than a kitchen oven because the thick atmosphere traps the Sun's heat. Instruments on board Venus Express will study the planet's atmosphere and what drives the planet's high-speed winds. An on-board camera will capture images of the surface by peering through "windows" in the enveloping haze.

The Venus Express Art Contest theme is "Postcards from Venus." Contest entrants are invited to imagine the surface of Venus from an above-ground perspective - a bird's eye view of a mysterious world whose volcano-riddled surface contains few impact craters.

What might you paint on your postcard? The varied landforms of the Venusian surface include:

*mountain ranges
*plains covered in lava-rock, and
*volcanoes ranging in size from small cones to enormous shield structures.

Anyone may enter the contest in either the Youth (age 17 or under) or Adult (18 or over) category. Only one entry per person is permitted, with no group entries allowed. Artwork based on the contest theme may be created in any two-dimensional artistic medium, including computer generated art. The artwork should be of Venus itself, not the Venus Express spacecraft. Each finished piece should be the size and shape of a postcard (approximately 4 by 6 inches or 10 by 15 centimeters).

Artwork may be mailed or submitted online. Visit our website for complete contest rules and entry form.

To enter by mail, entrants should mail their artwork to Venus Express Art Contest, 65 N Catalina Ave, Pasadena, California, 91106, USA. Artwork mailed to The Planetary Society becomes the property of the Society and cannot be returned.

The deadline for all entries to be received - by mail or online - is January 13, 2006, 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges selected by The Planetary Society. Art will be judged on the artwork's articulation of the contest theme, creativity, and artistic merit. For submissions by artists under 18 years of age, the age of the artist will be taken into consideration. One Grand Prize winner will be selected. One First, one Second, one Third, and five Honorable Mention winners also will be selected in each age category (Youth and Adult).

The Grand Prize Winner will receive a trip to Darmstadt, Germany in April 2006, including travel expenses, food, and lodging, in order to visit the European Space Operations Centre during Venus Express' arrival at Venus. If the Grand Prize Winner is under 18 as of April 1, 2006, the Grand Prize will also include companion travel for one accompanying parent or legal guardian.

In addition to the above prizes, a graphic artist employed by the European Space Agency will select hundreds of artworks from among the entries for inclusion in a collage to be exhibited when Venus Express arrives at Venus.

Two months or more after the arrival of Venus Express, another judging panel will review the entries to select two Special Prizes. The Special Prizes (one Youth and one Adult) will be awarded for that artwork which most closely resembles a view of Venus returned from the Venus Express spacecraft.

All winners' artworks will be displayed at ESA's European Space Operations Centre during the Venus Express arrival at Venus.

About The Planetary Society

The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. With the mission to empower the world's citizens to advance space science and exploration, its international membership makes the non-governmental Planetary Society the largest space interest group in the world. Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded The Planetary Society in 1980. Bill Nye, a longtime member of The Planetary Society's Board, serves as CEO.