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Mars Rover Mission: This is your last chance to send your name to the Red Planet



No, this is not an opportunity for you to visit the Red Planet in person. NASA has called on the public to submit their names for the journey to Mars 2020.

And that's not all. While your tiny name lands on another planet, you can design your souvenir boarding pass.

So far, more than 10 million names have been submitted. More than two million names were submitted from Turkey alone, followed by 1.7 million from India and 1.4 million from the United States.

And if you've made your name for a bike ride on previous missions, NASA grants you some "frequent flyer miles."
  Watch as NASA's Mars 2020 Rover arm makes a biceps curvature.

A micromachining laboratory at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory will use an electron beam to pattern names submitted by the public, according to NASA. The names are etched in tiny letters (smaller than the width of a human hair) on a silicon chip. So NASA could easily put more than a million names on a single chip the size of a penny. One or more chips sit under a glass cover on the rover.

NASA did something similar when it sent its InSight lander to Mars, which reached the planet last year. More than two million names are attached to InSight.

  The next rover offers the clearest view yet of Mars and a helicopter.

The Mars 2020 Rover is the size of a small car and weighs 2300 pounds. The rover will collect samples that could be returned to Earth through future missions. It will search for signs of a possible ancient life on Mars and investigate the climate and geology of Mars.

And before it starts, the Rover itself will have a new name.

This is a tradition of the Martians. Before Curiosity's name, the previously used rover was known as the Mars Science Laboratory.

  The new Mars 2020 rover can be & # 39; hear & # 39; the Red Planet
NASA has launched a nationwide "Name the Rover" competition where K-12 students at US schools can name the 2020 rover.

The Space Authority hopes that the contest will spark students' interest in science, engineering, engineering, and maths – or MINT – and give them the opportunity to learn more about the natural sciences and engineering that we use to explore Mars.

Students can submit their chosen name for the rover by November 1, along with a brief essay on why their name should be chosen. The judges divide the names into groups at the class level and evaluate the entries based on the originality, meaning and appropriateness of the name.

The public will be able to vote on the nine finalists in January 2020, and the name will be announced in February.

Doug Criss has contributed to this story.


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