Growing up, I was obsessed with space. Whether it was laying outside on a clear summer night looking up at the stars, watching Apollo 13 for the 1 billionth time, or reading the latest book in the Ender’s Game series, one thing was for certain – I wanted to go to space.
As I grew older, I knew I needed to begin thinking about what I wanted to do with my life. Immediately, the first thing I thought was “become an astronaut.” Well, my eyesight sucked and Lasik didn’t really exist back then, so that was out – bummer! The next thing I thought was “become a physicist and discover how to create a real lightsaber!” Okay, but that involves math … that’s definitely out!
Finally, I decided on studying the written word and majored in English – if I couldn’t go into space, or create fantastic futuristic weapons, the least I could do is create my own epic adventures to inspire others to reach for their dreams. Granted, I haven’t actually released a book yet, but I’m getting close to finishing my first science fiction novel, so there’s that.
Fast forward several years and I stumble upon this tweet from NASA which immediately grabbed my attention. It said:
“10 days left to send your name out-of-this-world…to MARS! Mars InSight lander will carry your name to the Red Planet …”
For those who don’t know, InSight is a Martian lander NASA is building to help them learn more about the Red Planet’s subterranean features. I already find learning about NASA’s missions interesting, but what’s really awesome about this particular mission (and it looks like they’ve done this before) is that you can submit your name to be etched on a small microchip which will be part of the lander which is scheduled to blasts off from Earth in May, 2018.
Okay, so you don’t really get to go to Mars, but having your name, or the names of your children and family members engrained on a piece of interstellar history is simply amazing to me and this program is a really great way to get people interested in space flight again.
This program is perfect for anyone who’s interested in space flight and wants to learn more about the programs NASA is currently developing and will really help make you feel like part of the team.
In addition to having your name engrained on the lander, you’ll also get to download a mission patch (below), receive a personalized “boarding pass” to show you’re a passenger on the voyage, and earn NASA frequent flyer miles – which I don’t think do anything, but considering I earned 301,223,981, I wish I could use them for flights here on Earth!
If you’re interested in submitting your name to be included on the InSight mission, go to go.nasa.gov/InSightPass, but you need to hurry, this opportunity ends on November, 1st.
“InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is a NASA Discovery Program mission that will place a single geophysical lander on Mars to study its deep interior. But InSight is more than a Mars mission – it is a terrestrial planet explorer that will address one of the most fundamental issues of planetary and solar system science – understanding the processes that shaped the rocky planets of the inner solar system (including Earth) more than four billion years ago.” (source)