NASA’s Mars 2020 mission will send a brand new robotic explorer to the Red Planet’s surface as early as July next year. The NASA mission will precede any human exploration of Mars but will have a chance to indirectly land on the planet in spirit. Anyone who submits their name to NASA through the link below will have their name etched onto a microchip fixed to NASA’s Mars rover. Each name will be painstakingly “stencilled” onto a silicon chip with an electron beam, creating signatures no wider than one-thousandth the width of a human hair.
Using this incredibly fine technique, NASA can fit more than one million names on a chip the size of a coin, which will ride on the Mars rover under a glass cover.
On top of the incredible privilege, you will receive a “souvenir boarding pass”, which you can show off to your friends and family.
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said: “As we get ready to launch this historic Mars mission, we want everyone to share in this journey of exploration.
“It’s an exciting time for NASA, as we embark on this voyage profound questions about our neighbouring planet, and even the origins of life itself.”
You can add your name to NASA’s list from now until September 30 and receive your boarding pass.
Click here to go to NASA’s Mars 2020 sign up form. You will be asked to add your name, country, postal code and email address.
But you better hurry up, because your boarding pass will earn you “frequent flyer” points, which you can later exchange for goodies.
NASA previously launched a similar campaign last year, when the space agency’s fans were offered a chance to send their names to the Sun.
NASA’s “Hot Ticket”, saw thousands of astronomy enthusiasts have their names fly off into space onboard the NASA Parker Solar Probe, which launched in August 2018.
And similarly, more than two million names were sent to Mars onboard the NASA InSight mission in May 2018.
Now, when you log into the NASA Mars 2020 mission page, you can check your frequent flyer points and the rewards earned from them.
NASA said in a statement: “This is part of a public engagement campaign to highlight missions involved with NASA’s journey from the Moon to Mars.
“Miles – or kilometres – are awarded for each ‘flight’, with corresponding digital mission patches available for download.
“More than 2 million names flew on NASA’s InSight mission to Mars, giving each ‘flyer’ about 300 million frequent flyer miles – nearly 500 million frequent flyer kilometres.”
NASA Mars 2020 mission will prime the space agency for sending astronauts to Mars one day.
NASA’s Mars rover, which weighs around one tonne (2,300lbs) will hunt for signs of past alien life, climate and geology.
The car-sized rover will also collect rock samples for a future return to Earth.
NASA expects the robotic explorer will touch down on Mars in February 2021.