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:

Have you ever watched a lightning storm from your window at home? Did you know that scientists can use weather satellites to watch lightning from above, too?

In June 2024, the United States will be launching its latest weather satellite called GOES-U (GOES is short for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite). GOES-U will be the fourth and final satellite in the GOES-R group of satellites that keep an eye on Earth’s weather from space.

The information that GOES-U and its sister satellites collect is used in many ways! GOES-U will help meteorologists forecast the path of hurricanes, how strong severe thunderstorms can become, and when tornadoes will form. GOES-U will also help scientists “see” lightning and predict where it will strike.

Want to learn more about the GOES satellites? Meet a GOES-R Series weather satellite here!

This month's prompt: Draw how you imagine lightning to look, either within the clouds or striking the ground, from above the sky or from your window. Use any materials you would like – crayons, markers, pencils, pens, aluminum foil, paint, yarn, or anything else you find. The sky's the limit!

Submit your artwork between 5/1/24 and 5/31/24. Selected art submissions will appear on the website in early June!

Watch this video to learn about what causes lightning!

Want to launch your learning and zap your knowledge of lightning? GOES to this article and check out the video and poster to learn more about lightning!

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

For Earth Day, think of something on Earth that involves a lot of smaller parts coming together to make something big.

Illustration of a sky and outlines of trees. The trees are filled in with real seeds. Text reads We need more seeds to plant to save the Earth.

Alonzo, 10

Bright paper cutouts form a coral reef. Various stickers of fish are placed in the scene.

Amyra, 5

Illustration of the Earth with a large person, city, bowl and trees standing around it. Each object is filled with droplets of water. Text reads Save every droplet of water.

Aurora, 8

Illustration of a whale jumping out of the water with half of its body still below the water line. Under the water, the whale's body appears to be made from various pieces of trash. There is an asteroid in the sky and the Moon. The sky is a mosaic of squares overlapping each other.

Ava, 11

A glowing sphere covered in blue paper, leaves, paper houses and cotton balls to make it look like Earth.

Bella, 8

Illustration of Earth filled in with various pieces of rice and rocks to create the oceans and continents. Text reads The Earth is made up of many tiny parts.

Elladya, 9

Illustration of two mushrooms, one close up and one far away. Near the close up mushroom, there are spores coming from the mushroom. Text reads close up and far away.

Ivy, 10

Illustration of the Earth made of many dots of different colors.

Josie, 11

Image of the Earth with people holding hands all around it. The image is made of many cutout squares of different colors.

Kathryn, 14

Illustration of the Earth with a flowers growing out of it from all sides. Many bees are flying around the Earth.


Illustration of the Earth with the Sun in the sky. Various objects are pasted to the illustration to give detail to the Earth.

Konrad, 4

Illustration of Earth with a bunch of large flowers around it.


Illustration of Earth and various steps of the nitrogen cycle illustrated around it.

Luisa, 11

Piece of paper with bits of dough stuck on it to create and image of trees with a river flowing through them.

Mara, 9

Illustration of both the water cycle and the oxygen cycle. Each step is illustrated and discribed.

Naisha, 7

Various planets made out of sequins.

Pawel, 7

Illustration of Earth with many loops eminating from it.


Illustration of many circles with lines connecting them.

Suwan, 6

Illustration of an underwater scene, bees flying around flowers and Earth smiling. Text reads Happy Earth with bees and coral biodiversity.

Taifur, 5

Illustration of an underwater scene with various fish cutouts pasted around the scene.

Varvara, 5


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 May 6, 2024
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