US space agency NASA is inviting members of the public to send their names to destinations beyond low-Earth orbit, including Mars, on its Orion spacecraft, earning ‘frequent flyer points’ in the process.
After individuals fill out a ‘boarding pass’ on NASA’s website, the agency will embed the names on a microchip within the multi-purpose crew vehicle, which will be launched for the first time on 4 December.
The spacecraft’s maiden voyage will see it orbit the Earth twice before travelling back through the atmosphere and splashing down in the Pacific Ocean. The names will also fly on future NASA exploration flights and missions to Mars. With each flight, selected individuals will accumulate more miles as members of a global space-faring society.
“NASA is pushing the boundaries of exploration and working hard to send people to Mars in the future,” said Mark Geyer, Orion programme 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 getting a name aboard Orion’s test flight is Friday, 31 October. Beyond that, the public will still have the opportunity to submit their names for future test flights and missions to Mars.
Mars image via Shutterstock