Monday February 18, 2019
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Fly your name to Mars aboard NASA’s next mission

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Washington: Mars enthusiasts around the world can send their name to the Red Planet aboard NASA’s in Sight Mars lander which is scheduled to be launched next year. As part of its “fly-your-name” initiative, NASA will adds thousands of names to a silicon microchip headed to the Red Planet. “Our next step in the journey to Mars is another fantastic mission to the surface,” said Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC.

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“By participating in this opportunity to send your name aboard in Sight to the Red Planet, you’re showing that you’re part of that journey and the future of space exploration,” he said in a statement. Submissions, available on NASA website, will be accepted till September 8.

The “fly-your-name” opportunity comes with “frequent flier” points to reflect an individual’s personal participation in NASA’s journey to Mars, which will span multiple missions and multiple decades.

The in Sight mission offers the second such opportunity for space exploration fans to collect points by flying their names aboard a NASA mission, with more opportunities to follow. Last December, the names of 1.38 million people flew on a chip aboard the first flight of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which will carry astronauts to deep space destinations including Mars and an asteroid.

After in Sight, the next opportunity to earn frequent flier points will be NASA’s Exploration Mission 1 the first planned test flight bringing together the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion capsule in preparation for human missions to Mars and beyond. In Sight will be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, in March 2016 and land on Mars on September 28, 2016. The mission is the first dedicated to the investigation of the deep interior of the planet.

It will place the first seismometer directly on the surface of Mars to measure Martian quakes and use seismic waves to learn about the planet’s interior. It also will deploy a self-hammering heat probe that will burrow deeper into the ground than any previous device on the Red Planet. “These and other in Sight investigations will improve our understanding about the formation and evolution of all rocky planets, including Earth,” the US space agency said.

(IANS)

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NASA’S Twins Study Claims, Long-term Spaceflight Not Linked to Major Health Risks

"It's almost as if the body's on high alert," said Christopher Mason, Associate Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine.

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NASA
Spending nearly a year in orbit increased NASA astronaut Scott Kelly's immune system response, as if, at the cellular level, his body felt under attack as compared to his Earth-bound twin brother, the Washington Post reported on Friday. Pixabay

While it was previously thought that long duration spaceflight can affect the human body, even at the molecular level, new results from NASAs “Twins Study” has showed that there are no major warning signs and no reason to think humans cannot survive a two-and-a-half-year round-trip journey to Mars.

As part of the “Twins Study”, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly spent a year in space while Mark, his identical twin, stayed on Earth as a control subject to look at the effects of space travel on the human body.

Spending nearly a year in orbit increased NASA astronaut Scott Kelly’s immune system response, as if, at the cellular level, his body felt under attack as compared to his Earth-bound twin brother, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

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According to report, the biggest concern is radiation as such a mission would expose astronauts to levels of radiation greater than permitted under current guidelines. That would not necessarily prevent a mission, but it remains a concern. Pixabay

These comparisons, however, has not raised any red flags about long-term spaceflight on the International Space Station (ISS), NASA officials were quoted as saying at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science here.

“It’s almost as if the body’s on high alert,” said Christopher Mason, Associate Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine.

The space sojourn also changed the activity of some of his genes.

“It’s mostly really good news,” Mason said, adding, “the body has extraordinary plasticity and adaptation to being in zero gravity, at least for a year”.

NASA
“It’s almost as if the body’s on high alert,” said Christopher Mason, Associate Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine. Pixabay

According to Craig Kundrot, Director of NASA’s space life and physical sciences division, so far the space agency’s research found nothing that would make a Mars mission impossible.

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According to report, the biggest concern is radiation as such a mission would expose astronauts to levels of radiation greater than permitted under current guidelines. That would not necessarily prevent a mission, but it remains a concern.

However, Kundrot cautioned that the twin study has only two people as samples. “We don’t regard any of this as conclusive, but on the whole it’s encouraging,” he said, adding, “there are no new major warning signs”. (IANS)