Ascension & Cosmos NFTs

by on under about
3 minute read

On Friday, Nov. 26, Cardano non-fungible token owners can purchase a spot, via an NFT token, on an upcoming mission to space. Spacebudz, Zombiechains, or any other existing NFT chosen by the token holder will be made into a physical card, flown to space, and returned to their owners in the first-ever physical asset NFT deployment to orbit. The cards, part of Project Cosmos, will also contribute to an experiment exploring computer memory performance in space. "Corruption of memory on these types of cards limits their useability in space applications," the Ascension Sciences team says, "If we figure out how to make them resilient it can help scientists fly new types of sensors". The team will analyze the data stored in memory embedded in the cards before and after the flight to determine if radiation in space caused any corruption. Cosmos is also the first in using NFTs to crowdfund science. "Research is focused on where there's potential profit, decentralizing the funding via Cardano enables the public to direct our research aims" the team continued. Viral efforts to fund scientific research aren't new, as the ALS ice-bucket challenge of 2014 demonstrated, however linking science patronage to the Cardano blockchain provides the funding transparency that is the bedrock of scientific theory and enables supporters to receive authenticated collectibles as a symbol of their support. Cardano was chosen as the platform for the experiment due to the scientific rigor, transparency, and openness that has been used to develop the technology: More than 100 scientific papers defining the Cardano blockchain structure have been peer-reviewed and published and, the team says, "Cardano is a community of creators, developers, and engineers that have a joint vision for what the future could be." Mission Access Tokens (MATs) will be sold for 1500 ADA, however, a special Black Friday sale will give early buyers a 500 ADA discount. Owners can then redeem each MAT by filling out a form that designates which NFT the owner would like to send to space. Prior to launch, scheduled for early 2022, the Project Cosmos team will mint the physical NFTs that will include pictures of the printed card as well as metadata referencing the original NFT.

Once the payload returns to Earth, NFT owners can choose to have their tokens re-minted with additional metadata about the spaceflight as well as in-flight and post-flight photos and video. The physical assets will subsequently be delivered to NFT holders. Supporters of decentralized research, Cardano, and Project Cosmos can sign up for their ride to space via starting at 12:00 UTC on November 26th, 2021. Project Cosmos comes on the heels of the team's first experiment: Project Ascension. "Commercial electronics are lightyears ahead of computers built specifically for space," the team says, "But we can't use them because of how they are built". Ascension is flying a set of 25 tin and titanium plates to explore how tin whiskers grow in a microgravity environment. Tin whiskers are tiny filaments that can cause computers to short circuit in space, and why they grow in space is currently unknown. The team's plan is to grow these filaments in space and then measure them when the plates are back on the ground to estimate growth rate compared to a set of control plates on the ground. The plates will be minted as NFTs and auctioned while they are in space, another first on the Cardano blockchain. In this way, patrons can contribute to ongoing space research. The Project Ascension launch is scheduled for February 2022 and will remain on the International Space Station for 10 months before returning to earth. Sponsors will receive one of the collectible NFTs as a symbol of their contribution to in-space materials science research.

The Ascension and Cosmos projects are created by Ascension Sciences, a team of rocket scientists who proudly operate Viper Staking on Cardano, in collaboration with Buffy Bot Publishing.