Looking for a gift for your friends and family that’s “out of this world?” How about sending their name to another planet on a future mission to Mars?
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is still taking reservations to send boarding passes with names to be sent to Mars on their next flight to the red planet.
The sign up link leads to a form where anyone can fill in their details to get a virtual boarding pass and frequent flier miles.
NASA previously gave the public an opportunity to send their names stenciled on chips to the Red Planet with NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover. The spacecraft, which launched in July 2020, is expected to touch down on Mars on February 2021. The Perseverance's main job is seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and regolith (broken rock and soil) for possible return to Earth.
According to NASA, the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover carried the names of 10.9 million people aboard. All submitted names were reviewed, approved and then etched onto a microchip placed aboard the rover. After traveling nearly 300 million miles (470 million kms.), NASA’s Perseverance rover is expected to complete its journey to Mars on Feb. 18, 2021.
While the opportunity to join the Perseverance may have closed, many people have still expressed interest in sending their name to Mars in future missions. According to NASA, if you are sending your name on a future mission to Mars, the spacecraft has yet to be identified.
Upon signing up, it seems that the next Mars mission is still way off in 2026, but hey, it’s never too early to plan you next space adventure, right?
Based on the map for future missions, it seems like people from the Philippines are desperate to get off the planet (or at least send their names there), with a whopping 2 million+ people having signed up. Trailing in second place for the future mission is the United States with over 200,000 sign-ups.
(Images via NASA)