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:

If you want to call your friend, you can probably just pick up a phone, select their contact info, and press “call.” But how would you call your friend if they happen to be a robotic explorer millions of miles away from Earth?

When scientists and engineers want to send commands to a spacecraft in deep space, they turn to NASA's Deep Space Network, or DSN. The DSN is an international array of giant radio antennas used to communicate with spacecraft at the Moon and beyond. Located in California, Spain, and Australia, the antennas of NASA’s Deep Space Network are a vital link to our robotic explorers venturing beyond Earth.

This month's prompt: If you were sending commands from Earth to a faraway spacecraft, or a robotic explorer on another planet, what would you tell it to do? Would you tell a space telescope to take a photo of your favorite star? Would you tell a rover on Mars to draw a giant heart with its robotic arm?

Draw an antenna on Earth, and the spacecraft or robotic explorer you’d imagine it would talk to. Use any materials you would like – crayons, markers, pencils, pens, aluminum foil, paint, yarn, or anything else you find. The sky's the limit! Get creative and submit your art before July 31, 2024. Selected art submissions will appear on the website in early August!

And if you need inspiration, here’s a gallery with some amazing images of NASA’s Deep Space Network antennas!

Watch this video to learn about how NASA communicates with faraway spacecraft!

Want to uplink more knowledge about the Deep Space Network? Downlink this article with lessons and games about deep space communication!

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

Draw how you imagine lightning to look.

Illustration of lightning striking through a castle floating in the sky.

Anna, 13

Side by side illustrations of a modern person understanding the science behind lightning and an ancient person scared of lightning.

Archan, 9

Illustration of lightning in a sky of dark clouds.

Arsh, 10

A cardboard box and construction paper depicting a scene of lightning striking the ground.

Caden, 10

Illustration of purple lightning in a dark sky with negative charges in the clouds and positive charges on the ground.

Elladya, 9

Illustration of lightning striking near a lake, with its reflection visible in the lake.

Evelyn, 11

Illustration of neon lines swirling in cloudy mist.

Ishaan, 8

Paper cutouts of lightning, clouds and a spacecraft.

Jana, 10

Paper cutouts representing the inside of a bedroom with lightning in the sky outside the window.

Kingston, 9

Various craft materials pasted together to depict lightning striking near a forest.

Klaudia, 6

Illustration of a city skyline with lightning striking from the clouds in the sky.

Leah, 11

Illustration of a lightning storm over the ocean, being watched by a spacecraft in the sky.

Lilly, 10

Paper cutouts of clouds in the sky with lightning below them.

Luna, 9

Illustration of lightning inside a glass container.

McKenzie, 10

Illustration of a person inside a building, looking out the window at a lightning storm over the city skyline in the distance.

Naisha, 7

Illustration of a lightning storm over three mountains, each of which have a concerned look on their face.

Olimani, 12

Illustration of lightning striking a house and trees. The house and trees are on fire. A tornado is approaching the house and trees. The tornado has consumed a cow and some trees.

Quinn, 10

Paper cutouts depicting lightning in the sky and a grassy scene on the ground.

Rupam, 11

Illustration of lightning in a dark sky with the silhouette of a cactus on the ground in the foreground.

Sharadha, 12

Illustration of three clouds in the sky with lightning striking from them to some power poles below. The lightning makes the shape of human bodies with the clouds as heads, so they appear to be dancing in the sky.

Sophia, 10

Illustration of the Earth with some lightning on its surface and a spacecraft observing from orbit.

Taifur, 5

Illustration of two spacecraft in orbit working together to predict lightning strikes on Earth.

Varun, 10

Photo of color blocks assembled to look like a cloud with lightning below it.

Zeke, 7


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 June 13, 2024
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