Wednesday Roundup: Your Face to Space and Early Computer Games

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Send Your Picture to Space: Not many of us can cough up enough money to travel to space. But now we can at least send our faces. The Daily Planet reports that for the final space shuttle missions this fall, NASA is collecting images of space fans and plans to send then into space through the “Face in Space” initiative. Visitors to NASA's website can upload a picture of themselves along with their name,  select a mission (either STS-133 or STS-134) and then print a confirmation page. Before takeoff, check out the participation map to see who else is joining you on your journey (as of this morning, there were about 180,519 participants worldwide—ranging from 3 participants in Chad to 75,957 in the U.S.). After the shuttle launches, the images are sent to the shuttle by mission control and remain on the shuttle's onboard computer. When it lands, visitors can return to the site to print out a flight certificate signed by the mission commander (which is really the only reason you wanted to go in the first place, right?)

Saving Virtual Dinosaurs: Though it seems like things in the digital world can last forever, that's not always the case. The Bigger Picture tells us about a project called Preserving Virtual Worlds, an effort by archivists at colleges and universities across the country to preserve and archive early computer games. This summer, librarians at the University of Illinois will complete archiving several early computer games—think Warcraft, Doom, and even what they call the "first fully interactive video game," the 1960s "Spacewar!" produced by MIT. Read about these efforts and others by other universities in this Bigger Picture post, which also includes a retro commercial for the Atari 2600 system. Let's hope they get around to my favorite childhood computer game, Midnight Rescue.

Haiti Update: As we mentioned a few weeks ago, American Art Museum conservator Hugh Shockey is keeping a travel log during his trip to Haiti, where he is leading conservation and preservation of art buried or damaged by the country's recent earthquake. This week, Eye Level checks in with Shockey, who has his first chance to do treatment on an artifact: a small figure Shockey believes belong to the Taíno people, the indigenous residents of  Hispaniola who greeted Christopher Columbus.

It's not too late to be an inventor: Our friends at the National Museum of American History’s Lemelson Center just e-mailed to tell us they've extended their design challenge until July 18. That means you still have time to contribute to their upcoming Places of Invention exhibit. Seeing your name in a museum exhibit might be even cooler than having your face fly into space.

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