Science

NASA is giving out frequent flyer points to Mars

NASA is giving out frequent flyer points to Mars”

A similar chip with 2.4 million names landed on Mars with NASA's InSight lander in November 2018.

NASA sent out an open invitation for the public to send their names to the red planet with the yet to be named rover Mars 2020.

The U.S. space agency says the boarding pass will feature the first and last name of those who participate "stenciled on chips" to the Red Planet once the rover launches in July 2020.

NASA is accepting names until September 30. Each line of text is smaller than one-thousandth the width of a human hair, making room for more than a million names on a single dime-sized chip.

Once all the names have been submitted, NASA will send them to the Microdevices Laboratory at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. In return, you'll get the "frequent flyer" points.

"It's an exciting time for NASA", Zurbuchen said, "as we embark on this voyage to answer profound questions about our neighboring planet, and even the origins of life itself". Government, industry and worldwide partners will join NASA in a global effort to build and test the systems needed for human missions to Mars and beyond. Anyone who submits their name to NASA through the link below will have their name etched onto a microchip fixed to NASA's Mars rover. During NASA's InSight mission to Mars, more than 2 million names were sent, earning each "flyer" about 300 million frequent flyer miles.

The space agency's Mars 2020 rover is expected to land on the Red Planet in February 2021.

NASA said in a statement: "This is part of a public engagement campaign to highlight missions involved with NASA's journey from the Moon to Mars". The final chip - or chips, at this rate, given the interest already shown - will be embedded under a glass cover on the body of the rover.

Miles are awarded for each "flight", with corresponding digital mission patches available for download.

There's a chance that NASA will need to use more than one chip, given that 2.4 million names were submitted to be etched onto the InSight Lander, which landed on Mars in November a year ago.



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