It is that time of year again when NASA offers you the opportunity to "send" your name to another celestial body. This time the destination is Mars and the shipping service is NASA & # 39; s future Mars 2020 rover, which will go to the Red Planet in – you guessed it – 2020.
The primary mission of the rover is to bring us closer to answering that fundamental question: has Mars ever organized extraterrestrial life? The robot is equipped with tools and instruments that help scientists find out if the planet has hosted life in the past. In addition, the robber will also drill and collect samples of Mars-like dirt. It will then leave those monsters on the ground, where one day they can be picked up by another spacecraft and brought back to earth.
And while the Mars 2020 rover does all this, your name could be for the ride. like you submit your name sometime before September 30NASA engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory will etch it on a silicon chip with an electron beam and then the robber will carry it on its journey. The names, however, will be pretty picky – about a thousandth the width of a human hair. That's small enough that more than a million names can be recorded on a single chip the size of a dime – but big enough for all micro-microbes to read (just kidding … Martians can't read).
NASA has offered this opportunity to the public before when it landed the InSight lander on Mars in 2018 or when it sent the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to the asteroid Bennu. And just like any seasoned traveler, you will receive a boarding pass and & # 39; frequent flyer & # 39; miles. As the InSight travelers are about 300 million miles away from their journey, the people of Mars 2020 are ready to earn serious points. Unfortunately it seems doubtful whether Delta Airlines will accept them.