"My story is not the typical astronaut story."
NFTs in Space
Space, geopolitics, and the cryptosphere keep colliding.
As Space.com reports, famed NASA astronaut Scott Kelly's first-ever non-fungible token (NFT) drop, which features artwork commemorating his record-setting 340 consecutive day run aboard the International Space Station, will be sold to raise money for Ukrainian relief charities.
Kelly's NFT collection, titled "Dreams Out of This World" and released exclusively on the OpenSea NFT marketplace, will, as the astronaut mused to Space.com, hopefully help others reach for the stars even as they focus on earthbound issues.
Kelly waxed inspirational in an interview with Space.com.
"My story is not the typical astronaut story," he told the site. "I was a bad student growing up — didn't do well in school, kind of a daydreamer."
After reading Tom Wolfe's "The Right Stuff," a 1979 nonfiction book about the Project Mercury test pilots who became guinea pigs for the burgeoning spaceflight industry in the late 50s and early 60s, Kelly was shaken.
"I really, really believe in this idea that inspiration, done in the right way for the right person at the right time, can have extraordinary results," he said of his experience after reading the seminal nonfiction work, which inspired many other astronauts as well.
Kelly said that he believes "the metaverse and crypto[currency] and blockchain will be a big part of our future," and as he reimagines the Earth below in the "Dreams" art, so too does he reimagine a world beyond the current geopolitical conflict as Russia invades Ukraine.
In a tweet last month, Kelly explained that the Ukraine war is personal to him because his "nephew and niece have roots in Ukraine."
"Seeing their family's homeland under attack has been painful," the astronaut continued. "Yet despite despair, [his nephew] Isaac is eager to launch a fundraiser to help families in Ukraine."
In its first day alone — which coincided with the International Day of Human Spaceflight commemorating USSR Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's first ever trip to space — Kelly's NFT drop raised a whopping $500,000 for The Global Empowerment Mission's Ukraine relief efforts.
Crypto and NFTs may generally be annoying, but in the case of Ukraine — one of the top crypto-using countries in the world — they can make a big difference. Better this than an overpriced AI-generated illustration of an ape, right?
READ MORE: Former astronaut Scott Kelly launches 1st NFT, raises $500,000 to support Ukraine [Space.com]