Lucy in Space Contest

Oct 16, 2020

We are now officially one year until our first launch window opens! To celebrate we are happy to announce the Lucy in Space Contest!

While NASA’s Lucy Mission is exploring the Trojan asteroids, the “fossils” our our Solar System, it is named after an actual fossil, discovered by Donald Johnansen and his team in Ethiopia in the 1970s. Just as that Lucy fossil changed the way we understand our origins as humans, the Lucy mission promises to to revolutionize our understanding of the formation of our Solar System.

The Lucy fossil, found by Donald Johanson and Tom Gray on November 24, 1974, at the site of Hadar in Ethiopia. Credit: ASU / Institute of Human Origins

The Institute of Human Origins, founded by Donald Johanson, and NASA invites all US middle and high school students to explore the connection between these two Lucys through the Lucy in Space contest!

Middle School Level Entrants (Grades 6 to 8) Design your own patch for the NASA Lucy Mission and explain your design with a poem or short essay (500 words or less).

High School Students (Grades 9 to 12) Create a message in the form of artwork or other media to the future finders of spacecraft Lucy regarding our search for origins, emphasizing the connection between the Lucy fossil and NASA’s Lucy Mission. Include a poem or essay to describe your message (1000 words or less).

The contest has been extended, so entries must be recieved by 5:00 pm PST on April 16, 2021.

Winners will receive virtual visit to their school by Dr. Donald Johanson and by either Dr. Hal Levison or Dr. Cathy Olkin to speak to their class/school about the Lucy Mission and the Lucy Fossil. Additionally, the winning student and their family will get VIP tickets to view Lucy’s launch in the Fall of 2021.

Help us celebrate our year before launch by learning about the Lucy Fossil, the Lucy Mission, and the spirit of exploration that drives us to learn about where we come from!

For full contest rules and to submit your entry, please go to

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