NASA Space Place Art Challenge!

An illustration of a paintbrush painting a galaxy.

Do you love making art and using your imagination? So do we! Every NASA mission starts with a creative idea about how to explore something in a new way.

The art challenge:

In this new activity, we'd like to challenge young explorers to think about and draw a space-related situation each month. And after the month is over, we'll select a few imaginative drawings to be featured on the NASA Space Place website!

So, get ready to exercise that creative brain of yours! Here's what you'll need:

  • Paper
  • Art supplies (pencils, markers, crayons, paints – whatever you like to use)
  • A grownup helper with a camera or scanner and access to email

Space Place art challenge prompt:

Happy 2024, a year of 366 exciting days! That’s right, this year is 366 days long because it is a leap year! Feb. 29, the extra day, is a leap day.

Why does Earth have leap years? In short, it takes approximately 365.25 days for Earth to orbit the Sun — a solar year. We usually round the days in a calendar year to 365. To make up for the missing partial day, we add one day to our calendar approximately every four years. That is a leap year.

Leap years are important so that our calendar year matches the solar year — the amount of time it takes for Earth to make a trip around the Sun. Subtracting 5 hours, 46 minutes and 48 seconds off of a year maybe doesn’t seem like a big deal. But, if you keep subtracting almost 6 hours every year for many years, things can really get messed up.

For example, say that July is a warm, summer month where you live. If we never had leap years, all those missing hours would add up into days, weeks and even months. Eventually, in a few hundred years, July would actually take place in the cold winter months!

Animated illustration of the Sun and Earth facing each other in space.

This month's prompt: Read more about leap years – Then, create art showing what wacky things could happen on Earth if there were no leap years. For example, if you have a birthday in the cold, winter month of December, eventually, your birthday would be on a hot summer day! Get creative and draw how life on Earth could be different if we did not have leap years.

Submit your artwork between 1/24/24 and 2/29/24. Selected art submissions will appear on the website in early March!

How to submit your art:

Once you've gotten your ideas on the page, have a grownup take a photo or scan of the drawing and email the following to

That's it! Have fun creating and we can't wait to see your drawings!

This Month's Art Challenge Selections

Create art showing what wacky things could happen on Earth if there were no leap years!

Adrianne, 13

Akashh, 10


Brian, 10

Elena, 12

Elladya, 9

Emiliana, 11

Gianna, 12

Henry, 10

Jaiden, 13

Joe, 12

Johann, 8


Kathryn, 13

Krrish, 13

Naisha, 7

Nataly, 11

Nicole, 13

Oden, 6

Sophia, 10

Valeria, 10

Xander, 11


I hereby grant to the California Institute of Technology (Institute) and its Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) the right to make, use, create derivative works and/or display:

  1. photos, video and/or audio tape recordings of, my Child and/or
  2. artwork (in any media, including drawings, photos, music and video creations) created by my Child and submitted to JPL and/or

in any manner or form, and for any lawful purpose at any time. I also grant the Institute to use my Child's name associated with such photos, recordings of my Child or with his/her artwork. I understand that my Child may be photographed and/or video or audio taped verbatim and that the Institute may allow persons external to the Institute to view the pictures or recordings in part or in their entirety. I also understand that any artwork submitted by my Child to the Institute for the Project may be edited, reproduced or displayed publicly at the Institute's discretion. I am fully aware and agree that such use of my Child's image or artwork and name may include posting on publicly available internet sites, including JPL sites and other publicly viewable social media sites. I waive any right that I may have to review or approve of any finished products, or the uses to which such products may be applied. I release and discharge the Institute, its employees, sponsors, and subcontractors from any liability to me by virtue of any representation that may occur in the creation, editing or use of said photos and/or video or audio tape recordings or the editing or use of my Child's artwork.

article last updated March 1, 2024
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