Yuri's Night art contest call for entries: Win a Zero-G flight on the Ilyushin 76!

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(Photo: I co-hosted one of the previous year's Yuri's Night events, in Houston. It was a blast. Plastered cosmonauts plastered me with Yuri Gagarin stick-on tattoos.)

The folks behind Yuri's Night, an annual global space party that celebrates peace through space exploration, are looking for your creative help to design an awesome new ad campaign to get people to care about space. Yuri's Night's Loretta Hidalgo-Whitesides invited me to be one of the judges and I happily accepted. This year's celebration is a special one: it marks 50 years since Yuri Gagarin became the first human to leave earth for space.

Loretta says,

The Space Exploration Advertisement Competition will award a 4-day tour of Moscow, Russia, including a microgravity flight in an Ilyushin-76 aircraft, to an artist, designer or creative individual who creates a print ad which best captures the wonder of space and demonstrates the potential to best inspire the public. The winner will be judged by a celebrity panel of space notables, but entries will also be eligible for a fan-voted People's Choice Award with another exciting set of prizes.
My co-judge is Ariel Waldman of Spacehack.org, about whom Pesco blogged recently. Contest details follow, along with word of two additional contests you can enter with even more totally awesome space prizes:

As we celebrate 50 years of human space exploration on Yuri's Night this April 12th, it is more important than ever to ensure that humankind continues to explore the final frontier. This ad could be a poster, magazine advertisement, postcard etc. that will inspire and empower people to go to space and create an inspiring future for humanity.

We want a piece that summons a sense of wonder at the utter vastness of the cosmos and our overwhelmingly fragile place in it. We want a piece that that awakens a feeling of unity with all mankind, and that we are up to the challenge of becoming a species worthy of settling the galaxy - and that Yuri's launch was merely the first step in an endless human journey to the stars.

The winner would capture the spirit and tone of the 3 minute YouTube Video "NASA - The Frontier is Everywhere" in a print medium to spread the meme to another million people.

Deadline: Submit your art on or before April 15th. Entries are accepted via Facebook: you just need to post the .jpg or equivalent to the Yuri's Night Facebook page before that date. You can view entries here. The entry with the most 'likes' gets a special People's Choice Award. The winning artist, as selected by judges (including me!), gets a free trip to Russia to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre where they'll experience floating weightless on the Ilyushin 76 Cosmonaut training aircraft.

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( Image above: Aaron Muszalski, shot by Scott Beale, at Yuri's night 2007.)

Separately, the Yuri's Night folks are also offering a Russian Space Tour Sweepstakes, with a grand prize of a trip to view a Soyuz liftoff from the steppes of Kazakhstan from Baikonur. The deadline for this one is also April 15th.

And finally, there's the "Open Luna Video Contest," an open source competition to engage the public to create tribute videos for the 50th Anniversary of Human Spaceflight to share at Yuri's Night events around the world. The prize on that one is $500, and again, an April 15 deadline.

Go to yurisnight.net/contests to sign up for the sweepstakes and to get more information on the ad contest.