In October, NASA opened a unique opportunity for people who wanted to leave a track on Mars. In a symbolic gesture, people were given the chance to send their name to NASA, and have it shipped aboard the InSight lander, who was scheduled to leave for Mars in 2018. NASA accepted a first series of names, and has just announced 1.6 million more people who signed up for the program.
More people were allowed ‘aboard’ the InSight lander
This is not the first time when NASA gives people the chance to have their names sent into outer space. In 2014, with the launch of Orion, people could sign up and send their names to NASA, which then shipped it aboard the spacecraft. This program gathered 1.38 million people.
This time, NASA did the same with the InSight lander, who should reach Mars in 2018. During the initial stage, which lasted until November 2nd, 827,000 people signed up. However, NASA decided to allow more people to be part of the program, and 1.6 million others were added on the list.
The lander will get where no other space probe has been
The InSight lander will undertake a unique mission, so it’s a rare chance for people to get their names aboard the spacecraft. What the lander will do is to peek beyond the surface of the Red Planet, and decode the mysteries of Mars’ insides. InSight will be able to do it by listening to the movements which go on under the surface.
By finding out how these movements are produced, scientists will be able to tell how the planet formed, and build its geological history. The space probe will dig deep in the Martian surface, and then listen to the quakes going on inside.
Those who will get their names put aboard the InSight lander will enter NASA’s frequent flier program. This means they can show anyone they had symbolically traveled into space by downloading a boarding pass which shows all their history with NASA’s ‘travel’ programs. Whenever they add their name on a new mission, they can add it on the pass.
Image Source: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory