NASA is inviting the public to send their names into space aboard its Orion spacecraft, according to a press release from the space agency.
The names will be stored on a dime-sized microchip aboard Orion when it launches on its first, unmanned, flight Dec. 4, 2014, designated as Exploration Flight Test-1.
“When we set foot on the Red Planet, we’ll be exploring for all of humanity. Flying these names will enable people to be part of our journey.”
After two orbits of the Earth lasting 4.5 hours, the spacecraft’s crew module will reenter Earth’s atmosphere at speeds approaching 20,000 miles per hour, enduring temperatures approaching 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.
Even after returning to Earth, the names recorded on the chip will be a part of further missions, including future exploration flights and missions to Mars.
“NASA is pushing the boundaries of exploration and working hard to send people to Mars in the future,” said Mark Geyer, Orion Program manager. “When we set foot on the Red Planet, we’ll be exploring for all of humanity. Flying these names will enable people to be part of our journey.”
The deadline for submission of names to travel aboard Orion for Exploration Flight Test-1 is Halloween; Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. The public will be able to keep submitting names beyond Oct. 31 to be included on future flights, including missions to Mars.
To submit your name to fly on Orion’s test flight, visit the NASA site here.