Tuesday, June 8, 2010

NASA wants to send your face into space


MOST of us will never make it into space, but NASA has offered to send photos of intergalactic dreamers into orbit for free.

People can upload a photo of their face, or provide their name, at faceinspace.nasa.gov.

The data will be launched into space on one of the American space agency's two remaining space shuttle missions to the International Space Station later this year.

Once the missions return, participants can print a commemorative Flight Certificate signed by the Mission Commander as a quirky souvenir.

Participants will also be able to follow the mission's status, see photos and follow the commander and crew on Twitter or Facebook.

Only two more shuttle launches remain — one in September for Discovery and the final blastoff for Endeavor in November — before the curtain falls on this era of human space flight.

The US will then rely on Russia to take astronauts to the station aboard three-seater Soyuz spacecraft until a new fleet of commercial space taxis is operational.

US President Barack Obama effectively abandoned in February plans laid down by his predecessor George W. Bush to send astronauts back to the moon by 2020 — and perhaps on to Mars — with a new generation of rocket and spacecraft.

Nonetheless, Mr Obama set a bold new course in April for the future of US space travel, laying out a vision to send American astronauts into Mars orbit within the next three decades.

Constrained by soaring deficits, Mr Obama submitted a budget to Congress that encouraged NASA to focus instead on developing commercial transport alternatives to ferry astronauts to the space station after the shuttle program ends.


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