There’s a good chance I will be the first Pierini to land on Mars. No, I did not win some contest that sends me on a one-way trip to the Red Planet in the name of reality TV.
But I did register my name with NASA to have it embedded on a microchip headed to Mars. Now it’s your turn.
The process is simple and free here. Just provide your name, email and zip code and your name will be added to the chip that will fly with on the spacecraft InSight in March of next year. Registration ends Sept. 8.
Once it lands on the Martian surface in September, InSight (short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) will use geophysical instruments to dig beneath the surface in search of information on how the planets of the inner solar system formed more than 4 billion years ago.
Once you have registered, you will be issued a commemorative boarding pass, which you can print, plus “frequent flyer miles” your name will earn. NASA does not put a value on these points, but it’s fun to know I have more than 297 million miles.
NASA made a similar offer when it launched Orion’s first space flight last year. The space agency registered 1.38 million names for the chip that flew with Orion. NASA plans to take names for future trips to Mars and the asteroid redirect mission.