About 1.39 million Indians booked a flight to Mars, The Times of India reports. This vast number of people booked the “trip” to Mars via NASA’s InSight mission, which is expected to launch on May 5, 2018. NASA said that people who submitted their names got their online “boarding passes” for the InSight( Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) mission.
The names of the people who signed up for the flight are being carved on a silicon wafer microchip with an electron beam which forms letters with lines one-thousandth the diameter of a human hair. It is important to add that this chip will be placed on the top hull of the lander.
A number of Indians gave their response regarding NASA’s call for names. However, the space agency received about 2.4 million names of people from around the world, which is quite a lot. According to NASA, India is in third place on the global list when it comes to the number of names submitted for the mission. The U.S. holds the first spot with about 6.77 million names, while China is in second place with 2.6 million names.
It’s not surprising that the U.S. took first place, as this is a NASA mission. On the other hand, some experts describe India’s third-place position next to China a “matter of significance.” They say India took third place as a result of two factors: interest in flights to Mars started by India’s Mangalyaan mission and the strengthening space-related connections between India and the U.S. The fact that such a large number of Indians booked a flight to Mars shows that the country is quite enthusiastic towards space.
Andrew Good from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory told The Times Of India that they are “no longer accepting submissions,” as the deadline was last week.
InSight is expected to land near Mars’ equator on November 26, 2018. The mission will last 720 days, and InSight’s role is to collect essential data regarding the Martian interior, which consists of monitoring “Marsquakes.”