Mars Is Not A Tourist Destination Yet But NASA Will Send Your Name To The Red Planet

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NASA has announced that it's opening up its popular "Send Your Name to Mars" campaign to have people's names be sent on a microchip as part of a future mission to Mars. Sign up now to have your (or your loved one's) name be a permanent fixture on the Red Planet. There's no details on what your Martian land rights will be, though.

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Aluminum plate with names on Perseverance rover (Image credit: NASA)

The last time NASA ran a similar campaign—also called "Send Your Name to Mars"—it ultimately received a whopping 10,932,295 entrants from all over the world. Those names, along with 155 essays chosen from NASA's "Name the Rover" contest, were laser etched onto three fingernail-sized silicon chips and attached onto the Perseverance Mars rover. So far, the rover and the names (among other things) have spent 936 Earth days surveilling the Jezero Crater for water and life. 

NASA's new "Send Your Name to Mars" program comes after requests from people who missed the opportunity to send their names to Mars. When you visit the signup page, people will be able to submit their names to be approved for an undetermined mission launching in the next few years. According to NASA, "Your name will fly on a future NASA mission to Mars in the mid-2020’s. The spacecraft hasn’t been identified but we are taking names now that will eventually be placed on a spacecraft headed to Mars."

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Of course, do note that your entry will go through a multi-stage approval process. During sign up, there are automatic filter triggers that will immediately block non-approved words or phrases and display a "No Fly" message. Subsequently, names will still be reviewed by the agency itself before final etching.

Not to be remiss, NASA has launched (get it?) other public involvement programs, such as "Message in a Bottle" for the Europa Clipper mission and sending names onboard Artemis 1 to the Moon.