/ Modified mar 15, 2024 5:41 p.m.

Put your mark on the Moon via new NASA rover mission

The spacecraft is designed to carry names on a microchip.

VIPER mission Illustration of VIPER (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover) on the moon.

NASA is offering to send the names of those who apply into space later this year on its first robotic Moon rover called VIPER, short for the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover.

Names that are submitted will be included in a microchip on VIPER and participants will be issued a ceremonial "boarding pass" to commemorate their role in the event. To be included, name submissions must be in by 8:59 pm Arizona time March 15.

Once the names are collected, NASA technicians will use an electron beam to stencil names onto a dime-size microchip that will be attached to the rover.   

VIPER is set for a November launch. It's supposed to land in the moon's South Polar region to explore permanently shadowed areas and try to unravel the mysteries of the Moon’s water. VIPER will be the first rover to measure the location and concentration of water ice, and other resources on the Moon - which could eventually be harvested to sustain human exploration on the Moon and even Mars.

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