Who doesn’t want to be an astronaut? You get to float around in space, eat astronaut ice cream, and wear one of those ultra-cool MAGs (Maximum Absorbency Garments). Of course, we can’t all have the privilege of blasting off into space. After all, we don’t all have the right stuff. However, NASA is giving you the opportunity to do the next best thing. You can send your photo into space! That’s right, NASA is inviting the public to send a portrait of themselves into space aboard one of the two remaining space shuttle flights; Discovery STS 133 (November 1, 2010) or Endeavour STS 134 (February 26, 2011).
This is not the first time NASA has given the pubic the opportunity to get involved in the exploration of space. In February 7, 1999, the Stardust mission carried over one million names written on microchips to the comet Wild 2. On its voyage to Saturn, the Cassini orbiter carried a DVD with 616,400 signatures. The Face in Space program seems to be an obvious next step.
If you would like to launch your face into space, point your browser to faceinspace.nasa.gov. Once on the site, you can upload a picture (you can just launch your name if you like) and select which mission you want to fly with, STS 133 or STS 134. As of today, July 23, 2010, 203,189 people have submitted photos to the site; 85,142 from the US, 2,202 from South Africa, and 4 from New Caledonia. After the shuttle returns to Earth, you can come back to the Face in Space site to get a flight certificate – signed by none other than the mission commander.