More than six decades have passed since, in April 1961, Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin became the first human being to complete an orbit around the Earth. But since then, interest in space has declined significantly, and with it the funds allocated to research. Despite this, NASA makes constant efforts to maintain interest in space exploration.
The last of these initiatives is a passage to Mars. While it is true that there are still many years before we reach our planetary neighbor, NASA is giving the public the opportunity to send their names (printed on a microchip) to the red planet. The names will go aboard the Mars 2020 rover scheduled to be launched in July 2020, and is expected to land on Mars in February 2021.
The rover, a robotic scientist weighing more than a ton, will look for signs of past microbial life, analyze the climate and geology of the planet, collect samples for the future return to Earth and pave the way for human exploration of the planet.
“As we prepare to launch this historic mission to Mars, we want everyone to share this journey of exploration,” explains Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the NASA Scientific Missions Directorate (SMD), in a statement. “It is an exciting time for NASA, as we embark on this journey to answer profound questions about our neighbor, and even the origins of life itself. ”
The opportunity to send our name to Mars comes with a souvenir boarding pass and “frequent flyer” points. This is part of a public participation campaign to highlight the missions involved with NASA’s trip from the Moon to Mars. Miles (or kilometers) are awarded for each “flight,” with corresponding digital mission patches available for download. More than 2 million names flew on NASA’s InSight mission to Mars, granting each “traveler” approximately 300 million miles of frequent flyer (almost 500 million kilometers of frequent travelers).
From now until September 30, 2019, you can add your name to the list and get a souvenir boarding pass for Mars.
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