Send in your names to fly aboard the rover to Mars

Upcoming missions like NASA’s Mars 2020 might already have the technology to find tiny micro-fossils on the Red Planet

Upcoming missions like NASA’s Mars 2020 might already have the technology to find tiny micro-fossils on the Red Planet

At that size, more than a million names can be written on a single dime-size chip.

Just as it did when it launched the InSight past year, NASA plans to send the names of millions of humans to the Red Planet on the upcoming mission, as a means for all to be a part of this historic trip.

Human beings are yet to land on Mars but they'll soon to leave their mark on it after NASA offered the public an opportunity to send their names to the Red Planet.

If you are interested, simply fill out the online form on NASA's website before the September 30 this year and you will receive a souvenir "boarding pass to Mars". 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. Instead, it just asks for your first and last name, your country and postal code, and your email.

"As we get ready to launch this historic Mars mission, we want everyone to share in this journey of exploration", Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator at NASA, said a news release.

Souvenir boarding passes will display names submitted by the people which will also be on microchips aboard the Mars 2020 rover, NASA said in a statement on late Tuesday.

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The space agency says this program is part of its public engagement campaign as it ramps up its mission to the moon, Mars and beyond. The 2,300 lb rover is created to search for signs of past microbial life, gather data on the planet's climate and geology, and collect samples that will be returned to Earth.

Kilometers are awarded for each "flight", with corresponding digital mission patches available for download. Prior to launch, the chip, or chips, will be mounted on the rover and protected from the elements by a glass cover.

Plus when you sign up on NASA's website you even get more than 300 million frequent flyer miles.

The Mars 2020 mission is scheduled to depart in July 2020 and will reach its destination in February 2021.

The new rover is a larger version of NASA's Mars Curiosity rover that will be equipped with a whole new set of science instruments to explore the red planet, including a tiny helicopter and a microphone to record sounds.

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