NASA is inviting people around the world to submit their names online, so as to etch them on to a microchip that will be sent to Mars. The microchip will be placed aboard the Mars 2020 rover.
The names can be submitted to the webpage (https://mars.nasa.gov/participate/send-your-name/mars2020) before September 30.
After the submitted names are reviewed and approved, the Microdevices Laboratory at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will stencil the names on a silicon chip using an electron beam.
Over 9.8 million people have submitted their names so far. The rover is scheduled to be launched around July 2020 and is expected to touch down on Mars by February 2021. The Mars 2020 mission is aimed to study the red planet’s climate, geology and also collect samples and return to Earth. The rover will also search for microbial life.
“As we get ready to launch this historic Mars mission, we want everyone to share in this journey of exploration,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “It’s an exciting time for NASA as we embark on this voyage to answer profound questions about our neighbouring planet, and even the origins of life itself.”
More than 2 million names were sent on NASA’s InSight mission to Mars and about 1.1 million names were installed on NASA’s Parker Solar Probe.