Space fans can send their names to NASA's next rover mission on Mars

PHOTO: Pixabay

Wherever you are in the world, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is giving you an opportunity to "fly along" to the Red Planet-even before the actual, most-anticipated human mission takes place. On Wednesday, the independent agency invited space enthusiasts to be part of the Mars 2020 rover just by filling out this online form.

Now you're probably wondering how this trip is even possible?

NASA explained that the names will be etched on a dime-sized chip with lines of text smaller than one-thousandth the width of a human hair (75 nanometers). The Microdevices Laboratory at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, will use an electron beam to engrave about a million names onto a silicon chip that will be affixed to the rover. This means that even though you're not in the spacecraft physically, you're already part of the mission…in spirit.

Upon signing up, the participants will then receive a "boarding pass" and "frequent flyer points", proof that you have already been included in the exciting exploration.

Photo: NASA
According to NASA, the Mars 2020 rover will represent the beginning of the human race's journey to another planet. The agency also added that the main purpose of this rover is to "search for signs of past microbial life, characterise the planet's climate and geology, collect samples for a future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet."

The said exploration vehicle is scheduled to launch as early as July 2020 and the spacecraft is expected to touch down on Mars in February 2021.

Although this offer is open to all, the entries will still have to be reviewed before they can have their names on the rover. You still have until September 30th to participate.

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