The moon is so 50 years ago. Yes, we cheered on the golden anniversary of the first man to walk on the moon, but thoughts of traveling to Mars are gaining traction in people’s imaginations.
While human travel to Mars may not happen in our lifetime, you can still pay a “visit” to the Red Planet. Thanks to NASA, you’ll have the chance to send your name to Mars with the space agency’s new rover.
Find out how you can drop off a calling card on Mars through NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover. You’ll also get a very cool keepsake.
Get your ‘ticket’ to Mars
Next July, NASA will be launching a new Mars 2020 Rover and this time we’re all invited. NASA is offering people all over the world the opportunity to send their names to Mars via the new rover.
The 2020 rover will land on Mars in February 2021. So far, more than 8.5 million people have submitted their names for the Mars mission. It’s easy to do and doesn’t cost a cent.
You have until September 30, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern, to submit your name for a chance to have it taken to Mars. NASA has not said how many names it will accept.
If you’re lucky enough to be selected, an electron beam will stencil your name onto a silicon chip with lines of text smaller than one-thousandth the width of a human hair.
NASA states that at that size, more than 1 million names can be written on a single dime-size chip. More than one chip could be sent along.
The space agency added that the chip, or chips, will ride on the rover under a glass cover as the vehicle makes its way around Mars.
Even if you don’t get selected you get a cool online boarding pass from NASA. To submit your name, click here, fill out the form, hit send and you’ll be given the boarding pass. You can print the boarding pass, download it or get and embed code.
NASA wants to get public involved in Mars mission
This isn’t the first time NASA has taken Earthlings’ names on missions. In 2018, NASA asked people to send their names for the Insight rover mission, as well as Orion’s first test space flight in 2014.
You should be aware that July 2020 is a target date. These projects can be delayed. For example, the InSight rover was supposed to take off in 2016, but it didn’t leave Earth until 2018.
But there’s no doubt that NASA is really doubling-down on efforts to get Americans excited about the ultimate goal of getting a human on Mars. The 50th anniversary of the lunar landing certainly helped reignite interest in space travel and NASA seems to be surfing that wave.
The Mars 2020 Rover mission is tasked with seeking signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past, as well as searching for signs of past microbial life. The rover will introduce a drill that can collect core samples of rocks and soils and then set them aside for other missions to possibly send back to Earth.
Want to get an idea of what the Mars 2020 Rover mission will be doing? NASA offers this interactive map with 360-degree views of the Red Planet.