But I don’t want to talk about Benny. I came here to tell you about Bennu,
Bennu – or to give it it’s full designation: 101955 Bennu – is an asteroid that is classed as “quite likely to hit the Earth…” at some point.
Before it does that though, scientists want to have a good look at it and plan to send up the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to intercept it and take samples… rather like the ESA-launched Rosetta spacecraft that is currently orbiting asteroid Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
As you well know.
Well, OSIRIS-REx doesn’t launch until 2016Â and is currently under construction. But, you – yes, you – can be a part of it. Literally. By going to this website and putting in your details – before the end of the month – you can have your name engraved on a chip carried within the spacecraft. It actually gets engraved on two chips: one that will travel to the asteroid and then return home with the samples and the other which will stay with the orbiter craft and will travel through space, quite possibly,Â indefinitely.
As you can imagine, I thought this would be pretty cool, having my name travelling through space, and so I went to the website several months back to sign up.
And then something happened. Rather than give my own moniker possible immortallity , I suddenly felt the urge to bestow this privilege to my children.
And so, I registered their names instead of mine and they now both proudly have their certificates laminated and BluTak’d to their bedroom walls.Â And I’m not (that) jealous.
I feel like I’ve just suddenly grown up.