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You Can Now Send your Name to the Moon, NASA Says

Names Artemis Moon Rover
Artistic concept of NASA’s Artemis Moon Rover, VIPER, along which you can send names. Credit: NASA / Daniel Rutter

NASA is inviting the public to send their names to the Moon’s surface on its initial robotic lunar rover, VIPER, which stands for Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover.

This rover is heading to the lunar South Pole to solve the Moon’s water puzzles and get a clearer grasp of the location where NASA aims to land the first woman and first person of color in their Artemis program, NASA says.

In the “Send Your Name with VIPER” initiative, NASA is open for name submissions until March 15th at 11:59 p.m. EST. After gathering the names, the agency will affix them to the rover.

NASA also created a dedicated submission portal for this campaign. The website even allows participants to craft and download a virtual keepsake—a boarding pass for the VIPER mission with their name on it—to remember this unique opportunity.

Currently, 66,018 boarding passes have been claimed, according to NASA’s official website. Participants are urged to share their involvement on social media using the hashtag #SendYourName, wrote NASA in its news release.

“With VIPER, we are going to study and explore parts of the Moon’s surface no one has ever been to before—and with this campaign, we are inviting the world to be part of that risky yet rewarding journey,” said Nicola Fox, the associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

“Just think: Our names will ride along as VIPER navigates across the rugged terrain of the lunar South Pole and gathers valuable data that will help us better understand the history of the Moon and the environment where we plan to send Artemis astronauts,” she said.

Tens of millions of people sent their names in with Artemis I

This initiative follows in the footsteps of other NASA ventures, allowing millions of people to send their names along on journeys such as that of Artemis I. This will also be possible with the upcoming Europa Clipper mission.

The campaign aligns with NASA’s enduring tradition of including uplifting messages on spacecraft exploring our solar system and space in general. Daniel Andrews, the project manager for VIPER at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, said, “Our VIPER is a game-changer.”

He further explained that it’s a pioneer mission of its kind, which broadens our insight into potential lunar resources, that could sustain a lasting human presence on the Moon.

Towards the end of 2024, Astrobotic Technologies’ Griffin Mission One plans to transport VIPER to the Moon’s surface. This journey begins with a launch on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Upon arrival, VIPER will depend on its solar panels and batteries during its approximately one hundred-day mission. According to NASA, it must endure harsh temperatures and tricky lighting conditions as it utilizes a set of scientific tools in collecting information on properties, amounts of lunar ice, and potential resources.

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