How to send your name to Mars on NASA’s next mission to Red Planet
IT’S A freezing, hellish landscape blanketed by deadly radiation and populated entirely by one-ton robots – and now you can send your name to the surface of Mars for free!
Nasa has announced that it is accepting applications for wannabe space explorers who wish to fire their monikers to the Red Planet.
Nasa is accepting applications for wannabe space explorers who wish to launch their names to Mars[/caption]
Microchips engraved with millions of names will make the 34million mile journey aboard a mission planned for 2026.
The US space agency ran a similar scheme for its Perseverance Mars rover, which landed on Earth’s dusty neighbour last week.
It was carrying three fingernail-sized silicon chips stencilled with almost 11million names as it touched down inside the Jezero Crater.
The ‘Send Your Name’ placard attached to Perseverance, which touched down on Mars on February 18. Three silicon chips (upper left corner) were stencilled with 10,932,295 names[/caption]
How to send your name to Mars on NASA’s next mission to the Red Planet
Anyone wishing to sign up for Nasa’s next interplanetary trip can do so by heading to the official Send Your Name To Mars web page.
Hit “Sign up for the next flight” and plug in your name, address and email to secure your place.
Participants are provided with a digital boarding pass that they can show off to friends and family.
Nasa said that it opened registration on February 18 due to a “lot of excitement” surrounding Perseverance, which landed that same day.
Participants are provided with a digital boarding pass that they can show off to friends and family[/caption]
At the time of writing, more than eight million people have registered their interest so far.
Those selected will have their names etched onto a microchip with an electron beam.
The “E-beam” machine allows the writing of very tiny features: less than 1 micron, much less than the width of a human hair.
It’s normally used by Nasa engineers to make tiny devices at the JPL Microdevices Laboratory in California.
Microchips engraved with millions of names will make the 34million mile journey aboard a rover mission planned for 2026[/caption]
Details on Nasa’s next Mars mission are thin on the ground. It could involve another rover or an immobile lander, like Insight.
All we know is that it’s due to launch in July 2026.
Working with Nasa, the European Space Agency will send a spacecraft to the Red Planet that year.
It will pick up handfuls of Martian soil and rock collected by Perseverance and left in titanium tubes on the planet’s surface.
The samples will be carried back to Earth and analysed by scientists for signs of alien microbes that may have inhabited Mars billions of years ago.
Perseverance – What’s on board?
Perseverance boasts a total of 19 cameras and two microphones, and carries seven scientific instruments.
- Planetary Instrument for X-Ray Lithochemistry (PIXL)
An X-ray “ray gun” that will help scientists investigate the composition of Martian rock.
2. Radar Imager for Mars’ subsurface experiment (RIMFAX)
A ground-penetrating radar that will image buried rocks, meteorites, and even possible underground water sources up to a depth of 10 metres (33ft).
3. Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA)
A bunch of sensors that will take readings of temperature, wind speed and direction, pressure, and other atmospheric conditions.
4. Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE)
An experiment that will convert Martian carbon dioxide into oxygen. A scaled-up version could be used in future to provide Martian colonists with breathable air.
A suite of instruments for measuring the makeup of rocks and regolith at a distance
A camera system capable of taking “3D” images by combining two or more photos into one.
7. Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC)
From Baker Street to Mars: Sherloc contains an ultraviolet laser that will investigate Martian rock for organic compounds.
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In other news, Nasa’s Perseverance rover revealed stunning video and audio recordings from the surface of the Red Planet this week.
Space geeks have revealed stunning 4K footage of Mars captured by Nasa’s Curiosity rover.
What do you make of Nasa’s Mars mission? Let us know in the comments!
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