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NASA wants to send your names to Mars with the InSight lander

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Most of us -- even those who think they have a chance to live there -- might never get the chance to set foot on Mars. But, hey, we can at least send our names to the red planet, courtesy of NASA. The space agency is sending a silicon microchip with the InSight lander when it takes off in 2016, and it will contain all the names of everyone who signs up for a "boarding pass" on the project's website. The InSight lander was designed to drill deep into the surface of Mars to study the planet's interior for the first time. It'll take a number of instruments with it to accomplish that, including a seismometer to monitor Martian earthquakes.

If you signed up to fly your name aboard the Orion spacecraft for its test flight last year, you'll just have to log in to earn "frequent flier points." You unfortunately can't redeem those points for an actual trip to Mars, but you can at least claim that a part of you reached space. It's a still a cool idea, especially if you missed having your name etched on the side of a spacecraft.

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