Do you know that NASA is sending another rover called the Mars Science Laboratory Rover to Mars on 2011? Do you know that you can send your name on it to Mars?
NASA has always been very conscious about their public image and why not? After all they are burn 17 billion dollars at the tail end of rockets each year, and the budget is steadily climbing. Even during this economic turmoil, NASA’s budget has remained literally untouched. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge supporter of the space program and would love to see newer, more advanced and bigger projects from NASA. But the U.S taxpayers aren’t going to take this in stride so easily. NASA needs to generate public support and convince them that whatever they are doing is for the greater good of humanity. A good way to get support is to get people involved.
So they came up with a multiplayer game, live videos from the space station, public polls to name the Mars rover and now Send your name to Mars - an essentially pointless thing but enough to get people excited.
Simply submit your name and it will be put on a microchip on the Mars Science Laboratory rover and sent off to Mars on 2011. What will happen after that? Nothing. Your name, nothing more than a bundle of ones and zeroes, will stay on the chip, along with the names of thousands of others who have done the same. No Martian is ever going to read that chip either. But that hasn’t discouraged the 12,000 odd people from putting their name on the chip, including me :)
So go ahead and submit your name, you have nothing to lose. You will even get a certificate from NASA for doing it.