Send Your Name to Mars

Mars boarding pass (Credit: NASA)

PASADENA (NASA PR) — When it lands on Mars in November of 2018, NASA’s InSight lander will be carrying several science instruments — along with hundreds of thousands of names from members of the public.

In 2015, nearly 827,000 people signed up to add their names to a silicon microchip onboard the robotic spacecraft. NASA is now adding a second microchip, giving the public another chance to send their names to Mars.

New submissions will be accepted through Nov. 1, 2017, at the following link:

https://mars.nasa.gov/syn/insight

“Mars continues to excite space enthusiasts of all ages,” said Bruce Banerdt, the InSight mission’s principal investigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “This opportunity lets them become a part of the spacecraft that will study the inside of the Red Planet.”

This fly-your-name opportunity comes with “frequent flier” points reflecting an individual’s personal participation in NASA’s exploration of Mars. These points span multiple missions and multiple decades. Participants who sent their names on the previous InSight opportunity in 2015 can download a “boarding pass” and see their “frequent flier” miles.

As part of this frequent flier program, a chip carrying the names of 1.38 million people also flew aboard the first flight of NASA’s Orion spacecraft in 2014. NASA is building Orion to carry astronauts to deep space destinations that will enable future missions to Mars.

After InSight, the next opportunity to earn frequent flier points will be NASA’s Exploration Mission-1, the first flight bringing together the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft to travel thousands of miles beyond the Moon in preparation for human missions to Mars and beyond.

InSight will be the first mission to explore Mars’ deep interior. The spacecraft will set down a seismometer to detect marsquakes and meteor strikes, using the seismic energy of these phenomena to study material far below the Martian surface. It also will deploy a self-hammering heat probe that will burrow deeper into the ground than any previous device on the Red Planet. These and other InSight investigations will improve our understanding about the formation and evolution of all rocky planets, including Earth.

InSight is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, in May of 2018.

For more information on InSight, visit:

https://nasa.gov/insight

  • Aerospike

    My and my wife’s name have been on that chip since 2015. Hope this time it reaches its destination.

  • Paul451

    Have you read David Brin’s short story “Mars Opposition”?

    [A reading, jump to 8:08m to avoid the presenter.]

  • redneck

    If I ever send my name to Mars, it will be on the space suit I’m wearing.

  • duheagle

    Always good to have a stretch goal in life.

  • duheagle

    Robert Bigelow had a deal for at least the second of his Genesis modules where ordinary folks could sent small, lightweight objects like photos that would float around weightlessly inside the module once on orbit. There was a streaming video feed that allowed one to watch the random dance of people’s stuff floating around.

    Seems like SpaceX could do something similar for its first Mars-bound freight-only mission of twin BFR’s notionally set for launch in 2022. The stuff could do a Bigelow dance during weightless transit, then be gathered into some kind of sealed time capsule once on the surface and left on Mars to be dug up again in, say, 50 or 100 years.

    The planetary protection types would probably have coronaries, but, from my standpoint, that would be a feature, not a bug.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Yes, that was a really good idea.

    https://bigelowaerospace.com/pages/genesis/