Nearly 10 Million Human Names to Travel to Mars in 2020

Mars 2020 rover to carry the names of millions of humans to Mars 12 photos
Photo: NASA
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The “initial leg of humanity's first planned round trip to another planet” will depart next year, taking with it not only the hopes and dreams of humanity, but also millions of names of the bipedal, self-aware Earth-bound creatures.
A few months ago, NASA opened an internet portal where those planning to have their names become immortal could opt to have them sent to Mars on the 2020 mission. As the window to submit entries comes to an end, the agency says the Mars 2020 mission will have the names of at least 9.4 million passengers on board.

All these names will be inscribed on a chip that will be fitted on the mission’s rover. They do this by using an electron beam to carve a silicone chip, and each name is smaller than one-thousandth the width of a human hair (75 nanometers).

The website goes down on September 30, so NASA issued a “final boarding call” hoping to reach the 10 million names threshold.

"As we get ready to launch this historic Mars mission, we want everyone to share in this journey of exploration," said in a statement 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 will depart next July and has a planned arrival date for February 2021. By all intents and purposes, this is the most important mission Earth has ever sent to another planet.

The main reason the mission is carried out, the rover that will be deployed on Mars, is tasked among other things with making the first steps towards a future terraformation of the Red Planet.

The rover will use a cube-shaped device called MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Laboratory) to suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turn it into oxygen.

The amount of oxygen generated during the process will be tiny, but the experiment will prove it can be done.
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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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