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Why a Payload of NFTs Was Just Sent to the International Space Station

Dreambound Orbital's first mission today sees a trove of NFTs from Magic Eden, World of Women, and other projects orbit the Earth.

4 min read
Eve, the founder of Infinity Labs and Dreambound Orbital. Image: Infinity Labs

Crypto degens often talk about their favorite coin or token pumping "to the moon," but NFT assets have actually been beamed up to outer space. On Thursday, the latest example—from Solana NFT project Infinity Labs—will see a collection of NFTs from numerous Web3 projects breamed into orbit via the International Space Station.

In an exclusive interview with Decrypt, Infinity Eve—the pseudonymous founder of Infinity Labs—said that one of her inspirations for sending NFTs to space was the 1977 Voyager Mission, which included a "Golden Record" inscribed with music from around the world, including Chuck Berry, Mozart, Bach, and Louis Armstrong.

The idea for Dreambound Orbital came to her during the pandemic, when she says that she was in the hospital for treatment for an aggressive form of cancer.

"I didn't want to look at statistics [during treatment] because it was the worst thing I could do," Eve told Decrypt. "And I was obsessed with this idea that if I could put art and stories onto the blockchain, I could build something really beautiful that could outlive me in some ways if anything were to happen to me."

Dreambound Orbital, a company that "launches blockchain experiments into orbit," is the result. In researching how to send NFTs to space, Eve says she emailed several people who work in the space industry and eventually connected with NASA and visited its Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Designed by Nanoracks, The Bishop Airlock is an addition to the International Space Station (ISS) infrastructure that enables commercial utilization of the ISS. "Now we were able to just make it happen," Eve said.

And for the first mission, DreamboundM1, she's brought along a load of prominent Web3 allies. Joining Infinity Labs' NFT in its mission to the International Space Station are NFT assets contributed by the Solana Foundation, Metaplex, Phantom, Brave, Magic Eden, OpenSea, World of Women, MonkeDAO, Fractal, DeGods, Randi Zuckerberg, and more.

"I thought to myself: What is it about space that really inspires people, or just brings people together in so many ways,” she said, “and then also inspires people to think beyond themselves, or just feel like they're a part of something bigger?"

The NFTs included in the payload include artwork previously auctioned by marketplace Magic Eden called "This is Solana," created by pseudonymous artists TEJ and Ekko. It references many popular projects on the platform.

Other NFTs on the mission include Metaplex's Solana NFT standard whitepaper (tokenized itself as an NFT), a World of Women Galaxy profile picture, and the first Solana NFT minted by crypto-friendly web browser Brave. Holders of Infinity Labs' NFTs could also send their name or one of a loved one as part of the payload.

While Dreambound is the latest outfit to send digital art to space, it’s not the first. In August 2021, a pair of NFTs were sent to the ISS via the Bishop Airlock, including Aku artwork from former baseball player turned digital artist, Micah Johnson. Last September's Inspiration4 private spaceflight via SpaceX also included NFTs, including music from the band Kings of Leon.

Although Infinity Labs is a Solana NFT project, the digital payload going to space spans both Solana and Ethereum NFTs. The NFT files were uploaded to a server on the ISS today, where they will complete a rotation around the Earth before being "beamed into neighboring systems," said Eve.

One of Dreambound's primary aims with sending the NFTs to the ISS, she explained, is to beam the images into deep space like the Voyager satellite before it, and perhaps someday enable a digital space economy and orbital NFT museum.

Some might find the idea of NFTs being sent to the International Space Station a silly or unnecessary idea. To such criticism, Eve said to keep an open mind—you never know where inspiration can come from. Many critical technologies of today were enabled via experiments in space, like GPS.

"It starts with something that seems stupid or crazy; that stuff evolves over time," she said. "The potential use case is being able to generate validated flight certificates of assets that went to the ISS, or have interacted with space in some way."

Outside of Web3 applications, Eve believes there could be useful commercial applications and research for such an initiative, adding that life often imitates art and science fiction. Sci-fi inspired many of the technologies we use today, including smartphones. How might Web3 technology do the same?

"The line that we have on Orbital is, 'Despite everything, humanity found time to dream,'" Eve said. "Since Web3 meant a lot to me, it allowed me to reinvent myself and heal. I wanted to put [this] together for the Web3 community."

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