Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Want your name sent to Mars? It’s the last call to do so. That’s right, NASA will send your name aboard the Mars 2020 if you manage to get it in by the end of today, Sept. 30. Once this campaign ends, all of the names will be sent as early as July 2020 and expected to touch down on Mars in February 2021. The rover weighs in at 2,300 pounds and will search for signs of past microbial life, characterize the planet’s climate as well as geology, collect samples for Earth, and pave the way for human colonization.
The “Send Your Name to Mars” campaign first began on May 21, 2019, and comes complete with a souvenir boarding pass and “frequent flyer” points. Those who sign up will even be able to download corresponding digital mission patches, and so far, over 2-million names flew on NASA’s InSight mission to Mars, rewarding each “flyer” around 300 million frequent flyer miles.
NASA’s Microdevices Laboratory at JPL will utilize an electron beam to stencil the submitted names onto a silicon chip with lines of text smaller than one-thousandth the width of a human hair (75 nanometers). In other words, millions of names can be etched onto a single dime-size chip, which will ride on the rover under a glass cover. The space agency plans on returning astronauts to the Moon by 2024, and establish a sustained human presence by 2028 through NASA’s Artemis mission. Send your name here.