The next mission to Mars, called InSight (Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport), is slated to launch in Spring of 2016. It will be the first stationary lander to investigate the internal structure of Mars and search for seismic activity, ie marsquakes! NASA has always been good at including space enthusiasts in the public in their missions, giving them a human feel, and this mission is no exception. You can sign up to have your name included on a silicon microchip on the lander!
In the first 24 hours, NASA has had 67,000 people sign up, and they expect many more names to be included before the September 8th deadline. You can go to the website to sign up right now!
This is the second opportunity to the public to send their names aboard a Mars exploration vessel. In December of 2014, 1.38 Million people signed up to have their names included on the maiden flight of the Orion EFT-1 Mission, which eventually will be used to send humans to Mars. The amazing thing is that by continually signing up for these opportunities you can collect ‘frequent flyer miles’ and receive certificates that look like boarding passes.
So who wants to go to Mars? The first step is sending your name!