11 Million Humans Are Leaving for Mars in Name

The three  three silicon chips containing the names of 10,932,295 humans 1 photo
Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech
A couple of months ago, humanity was oblivious to the fact that in no time it will be fighting for its survival. The coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping the planet may or may not turn out to be an extinction level event, but it will definitely change us as a species and civilization.
There are virtually no aspects of human activity that haven’t been touched by the pandemic, except perhaps for space exploration. Despite NASA having opted to close down a couple of its facilities, work on upcoming missions continues and so far there are no changes in the schedule.

Later in the summer, a new mission to Mars will depart the Kennedy Space Center. It carries the Perseverance rover on a mission of great importance, one that might once and for all tell us if there ever was life on Mars, and whether a potential terraforming process would work.

With all the hardware of the rover, NASA will be sending to Mars nearly 11 million people. Or their names, at least.

10,932,295 humans submitted their names over the past year so that they can hitch a ride on the spacecraft. All have been inscribed on three fingernail-sized silicon chips by means of electron beam that were attached to an aluminum plate on the Perseverance rover.

"As we get ready to launch this historic Mars mission, we want everyone to share in this journey of exploration," said in a statement when the campaign started Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

"It's an exciting time for NASA as we embark on this voyage to answer profound questions about our neighboring planet, and even the origins of life itself."

The Mars 2020 mission is scheduled to depart in July 2020 and will reach its destination in February 2021. The rover would land in the Jezero Crater on the western edge of Isidis Planitia and once there, it will search for signs of life and also humanity's first ever terraforming efforts.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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