Space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is giving people the opportunity to send their names to the red planet aboard its Mars Rover 2020 mission. They are also handing out artificial 'boarding passes' to people who register to have their names flown to Mars.
According to NASA, the names will be placed on a microchip that will be sent with a rover on the next mission to Mars. "When our #Mars2020 rover lands on the Red Planet in 2021, it will carry a microchip etched with the names of millions of people from planet Earth," NASA said in a tweet on Thursday morning. "There are 20 days left to get your boarding pass and fly your name on our rover," they added.
The news has created quite a buzz around as more than 9 million people have registered on the link shared by the US space agency for the Mars trip. The NASA deadline to submit the entries is September 30, 2019. They will also invite the grand prize winner of the contest to witness the spacecraft launch in July 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. "This naming contest is a wonderful opportunity for our nation’s youth to get involved with NASA’s Moon to Mars missions,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "It is an exciting way to engage with a rover that will likely serve as the first leg of a Mars Sample return campaign, collecting and caching core samples from the Martian surface for scientists here on Earth to study for the first time.”
NASA's Mars 2020 mission aims to search for signs of past microbial life. Scientists will also characterise Mars' climate and geology. The rover weighs about 2300-pound. “Our Mars 2020 rover has fully taken shape over the past several months, as the project team installed various components onto the chassis: the computer brain and electronics; wheels and mobility system; robotic arm; remote sensing mast; the seven science instruments; and finally, the sample caching system," said George Tahu, Mars 2020 program executive, a few days ago.