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By Bruce Sussman
Fri | May 31, 2019 | 6:47 AM PDT

It's a once in a launch opportunity.

You can get your name etched on a robot that will (hopefully) start the world's first ever round-trip journey to Mars.

NASA is launching the Mars 2020 rover next year.

It's a robotic scientist weighing more than 2,300 pounds (1,000 kilograms) that will search for signs of past life, track the planet's climate and geology, and collect samples for future return to Earth.

How to send your name to Mars

Before the launch, your name can be etched onto a silicon wafer. NASA explains how:

"The Microdevices Laboratory at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, will use an electron beam to stencil the submitted names onto a silicon chip...."

And, well, let's just say you'll need more than glasses to see your name:

"... with lines of text smaller than one-thousandth the width of a human hair (75 nanometers). At that size, more than a million names can be written on a single dime-size chip. The chip (or chips) will ride on the rover under a glass cover."

So that means your name, and the names of your entire cybersecurity team or family, will literally be rolling around on the Red Planet.

That will happen after the Mars 2020 rover lands there in 2021.

how-to-send-your-name-to-mars

Register your name to go to Mars by September 30, 2019, at this NASA webpage.

Or paste this link directly into your browser, if you prefer: 
https://mars.nasa.gov/participate/send-your-name/mars2020/

Your name to Mars comes with miles!

NASA is giving away space miles* (points) if you put your name on the Mars 2020 rover—and you get a free souvenir boarding pass as well.

Why is NASA doing this? The answer is simple: it needs advocates for a series of major space missions it has planned. 

"As we get ready to launch this historic Mars mission, we want everyone to share in this journey of exploration," says Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) in Washington. 

A journey of exploration that includes humans on the Red Planet and before that, sending American astronauts to the moon again in 2024.

*NOTE: These space miles instantly get sucked into a black hole and have no real value.

Tags: NASA, Technology,
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