Send Your Name to Mars Update for 2017 – Submissions are now open again! You have until November 1, 2017 to submit your name to NASA. The 2016 launch date for the Insider Mission to Mars was postponed until 2018, so NASA has re-opened submissions to have your name included on a microchip affixed to the shuttle bound for Mars. The Insight lander will officially launch in May of 2018. The directions for signing up are still the same as you’ll find below (complete with the super cute boarding pass NASA will give you.) Let’s go be a part of history!
In March of 2016, NASA will launch the InSight lander on its next mission to the Red Planet. Citizens of Earth have the chance to send their name to Mars along with it etched into a small silicon chip carefully affixed to the outside of the lander deck. Your name can travel to space. Your name can be a little silicon astronaut adventuring to Mars. And you don’t even have to do anything special to get chosen. All you have to do is sign up. And you’re in. You even get your very own super cute boarding pass (pictured above) after registering your name.
Send Your Name to Mars – How it Works
To submit your name, visit Send Your Name on Mars – InSight to sign up for the upcoming InSight mission. You’ll be greeted by this super MARStastic homepage. Just scroll down until you see the New Flyer sign up form, and enter your details.
Participants who have already submitted their names will be able to log in to view their boarding passes from this location as well.
Upon completing the registration or logging in for returning users, you’ll automatically be directed to your boarding pass. Seeing your name associated with a voyage to Mars is definitely a bit exciting.
The pass is even styled like a ticket you’d get from a typical airline for domestic and international flights, and that makes me kinda happy. And the arrival site? It’s listed as “Elysium Planitia, ‘Plain of Ideal Happiness’ Mars. Complete cuteness.
Send Your Name to Mars – The Microchip
All of this is made possible by a tiny little microchip no bigger than the size of a dime. But this won’t be the first time NASA has launched names off into space. In 2014, Orion’s first test flight carried 1.3 million names aboard the lander. The picture above depicts the actual microchip carried on that flight, but the InSight lander will have one just like it! So take a good look. Your name may soon be off exploring the universe on a piece of silicon the size of your pinky while you sit at home and curse your job for only giving you two weeks of vacation a year.
The Mission – InSight to Mars
So your name’s off to Mars without you, and that’s awesome (it really is though; we mean it). But why exactly is it going there in the first place? There’s more to InSight than just bringing a bunch of humans’ names to a big lump of rock far far away. This mission, more than anything, is about discovering how the terrestrial planets formed. Previous missions to Mars have examined surface features like volcanoes, canyons, rocks, and soil, but none have looked far beneath the surface in attempt to examine the building blocks of the planet’s earliest evolution. The answers waiting there can help scientists learn not only about the history of the Red Planet but maybe of Earth as well.
Becoming a Frequent Flyer
Optionally entering your email address when submitting your name will automatically enter you into the Frequent Flyer Program. This program started with the Orion first test flight in 2014 and lets users log in to accumulate frequent flyer miles with each mission that they join.
Currently, participants can have a total of two possible missions logged– the Orion test flight of 2014 and the upcoming InSight mission scheduled to launch in March of 2016. Plans for future missions beyond that are already underway. In addition to acquiring miles for each trip, frequent flyers will also be able to log in anytime to see all of their missions and boarding passes stored in one place for easy access, and once a new mission becomes available, they’ll also be notified to sign up if they’d like to send their names on those journeys as well.
One of the neatest merits of the Frequent Flyer Club involves the opportunity to earn and collect badges for completed missions.
You can see all the possible badges that can be earned (and their corresponding missions) below. The ten-year-old you who dreamed of becoming an astronaut is now smiling. Go make him proud.
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