A SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft successfully launched into orbit with two NASA astronauts on board on Saturday. A first launch attempt on Wednesday was postponed due to weather conditions.
Aboard the capsule named Endeavor—the first NASA crew mission in nearly nine years—was specially-created artwork by Tristan Eaton taking the ride with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station (ISS).
In a historic milestone, SpaceX's Crew Dragon docked and the astronauts boarded the ISS early on Sunday for a stay of one to three months.
A Los Angeles-based street artist known for his massive murals and iconic art toys, Eaton created a series of double-sided "indestructible" artworks for the mission in gold, brass and aluminum. Each side of the metal pieces "represent the duality of Human Kind, our past and our future," the artist explained.
Scientific, natural and cultural references on each plate include a chimpanzee and its offspring; an open hand and a dove; peace symbols, a shell and a fingerprint; a nuclear fission symbol; the American flag; and more.
"I wanted to make something inspirational. Looking down from space to see all of Human Kind together on this tiny planet might remind you how much history and potential we have. Yet we have so much further to go," Eaton wrote.
"With kindness, hope and science, Human Kind has changed the world many times over. For a better future, we can do it again," he said.
The plates are each fitted into a protective sleeve, dated "5.27.20," bearing a pocket with an artist's statement and a card greeting for the astronauts.
"Welcome to space!" the card reads. "Thank you for taking time to view these works I created for this expedition. Your courage and dedication is an inspiration to all of us down here on Earth. I imagine every astronaut takes a moment to digest the history and glory of where you are and what you are doing for humankind."