Once all the names have been submitted, NASA will send them to the Microdevices Laboratory at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.
Space fans have been sending their names to Mars and other extraterrestrial destinations for more than two decades, and it's that time again: From now until September 30, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is taking names for the Mars 2020 rover mission.
All you need to do is fill up a form here and get a "boarding pass" and "frequent flyer points".
FOX 5 reported this story from Atlanta.
The rover marks an important step in NASA's bigger plans to send humans to deep space. The chip will hitch a ride on the rover for its July 2020 launch to Mars.
NASA is using Mars 2020, in connection with other missions, to prepare the way for humans to land on Mars. Using an electron beam, the names will be etched on a silicon chip with text smaller than one-thousandth the width of a human hair.
Humans still have a long way to go before we can set foot on planet Mars. It will also study Mars' climate and geology, collect samples and search for signs of microbial life. More than two million names are affixed to InSight.
The gimmick is part of a public engagement campaign to highlight missions involved with NASA's journey from the Moon to Mars. And who knows? Decades or centuries from now, interplanetary explorers might well be able to recover the name-laden microchips from the Mars 2020 rover's frame.
During that period, it is more energy-efficient to travel to Mars, and to keep mission costs and risks low, the Mars 2020 design is based on past architecture, including its Curiosity rover and proven landing system.
"Miles - or kilometres - are awarded for each "flight", with corresponding digital mission patches available for download". To achieve that, NASA will need not only United States government funding but the assistance of industry and worldwide partners.