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Join a space mission

Calling all fans of space imagery: NASA wants you ... to help judge a couple of contests over the next couple of weeks. And if you want to get your name in the cosmos, the Planetary Society is offering a couple of opportunities. Read on for the details:

  • To celebrate the third anniversary of the Mars rover landings, NASA is putting on a contest to select the "People's Choice" image from the twin missions. The winner will be announced Jan. 24, exactly three Earth years after the Opportunity rover landed in Meridiani Planum.
  • Sunday marks the second anniversary of the European Huygens probe's landing on Titan, a smog-shrouded moon of Saturn. On the eve of the anniversary, Huygens' old mothership, the Cassini orbiter, will zoom past Titan for a round of radar observations. And it just so happens that NASA is putting on a Cassini photo contest, with next Thursday looming as the voting deadline. The last time this sort of contest was conducted, Huygens' view of Titan's surface ended up as the winner. Which pic will take the prize this time? You decide, we report.
  • The Planetary Society is taking names, literally, for inclusion on spacecraft heading to the moon and Mars. But time is running out: You have until the end of the month to send along a message to be engraved on sheets and placed on Japan's Selene moon orbiter. Roughly the same deadline applies to getting your name included on a DVD being sent to the Red Planet aboard NASA's Mars Phoenix lander.