Sending Your Name To Mars

When NASA's InSight lander touches down on Mars in November of 2018, it will be carrying several science instruments as part of the first mission to study the deep interior of the Red Planet.

It will have a seismometer to record and study Mars-quakes, a self-hammering heat probe that will burrow into the surface of the planet to study its crust, and a full suite of other instruments.

It will also have hundreds of thousands of names from members of the public. 

In 2015, nearly 827,000 people signed up to add their names to a silicon microchip onboard the robotic spacecraft. 

If you missed that opportunity, then we have good news for you.

NASA is adding a second microchip, giving members of the public another chance to send their names to Mars.

New submissions will be accepted through Nov. 1 of this year at https://mars.nasa.gov/syn/insight . 

The "fly-your-name" opportunity comes with more than your moniker on the next Mars mission.

NASA says it's part of a bigger program awarding the space agency's own take on "frequent flier" points, reflecting an individual's personal participation in NASA's exploration of Mars. 

These points span multiple missions and multiple decades. 

As part of this frequent flier program, a chip carrying the names of 1.38 million people also flew aboard the first flight of NASA's Orion spacecraft in 2014. 

NASA is building Orion to carry astronauts to deep space destinations that will enable future missions to Mars.

After InSight, the next opportunity to earn frequent flier points will be NASA's Exploration Mission-1, the first flight bringing together the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft to travel thousands of miles beyond the Moon in preparation for human missions to Mars and beyond.

InSight, by the way, is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, in May 2018.

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