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Send your name on a mission to Mars

We can all be space travellers next year when Nasa sends a new explorer mission to Mars. The US agency is inviting people to submit their names for inclusion on a series of data chips that will be carried by the robot rover when it touches down on the planet.

The offer to send your name to Mars comes with a souvenir boarding pass and frequent flyer points – about 40 million miles worth. It is part of a public engagement campaign to highlight Nasa missions to Mars and the Moon.

The rover is a robotic scientific vehicle weighing more than 1000 kilograms. It will search for signs of past microbial life, characterize the planet’s climate and geology and collect samples for future return to Earth. The long term plan is to pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet.

If you want your name to go along for the ride you have until September 30 to register. The mission is scheduled for take-off in the second half of 2020 with arrival expected in February 2021.

You won’t be alone. Already more than 5.5 million people have taken up Nasa’s invitation even though the etched names will be tiny – smaller than the width of a human hair.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk, CEO of Space X, is planning to establish a scientific colony on Mars. He and is forecasting his private enterprise rockets will be able to take passengers on a return trip to the planet sometime in the 2020s.

For more information about Nasa’s Mars 2020 and ticketing


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