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Send your name to space as part of Europa Clipper mission

Traveling to space may be the stuff of dreams for most folks, but sending your name instead is a distinct possibility.

It’s not quite the same as donning a spacesuit and being blasted to orbit, though it could be a fun way to associate yourself with an upcoming and highly ambitious mission heading toward Jupiter next year.

NASA is inviting anyone who’s interested to submit their name to have it engraved on the Europa Clipper spacecraft, which will be traveling 1.8 billion miles to explore Jupiter’s Europa moon.

Love space but nervous to travel 1.8 billion miles? That’s okay!

Leave your mark by having your name engraved on the @EuropaClipper spacecraft! #SendYourName here: https://t.co/GRj0tfoBEp pic.twitter.com/VQfzKGidRe

— NASA Goddard (@NASAGoddard) June 10, 2023

Accompanying the names will be a piece of written work called In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa, written by U.S. poet laureate Ada Limón. NASA is describing the initiative as “Message in a Bottle” as it involves sending a greeting from Earth to the darkest depths of our solar system.

“Message in a Bottle is the perfect convergence of science, art, and technology, and we are excited to share with the world the opportunity to be a part of Europa Clipper’s journey,” said Nicola Fox, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “I just love the thought that our names will be traveling across our solar system aboard the radiation-tolerant spacecraft that seeks to unlock the secrets of Jupiter’s frozen moon.”

Europa Clipper is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in October 2024, and take six years to reach its destination. As it orbits Jupiter and performs multiple flybys of Europa, a suite of science instruments will collect data on the moon’s subsurface ocean, ice crust, and atmosphere.

The main goal of the Europa Clipper mission is to discover if there are any places below the surface of Europa that could support life. It will also seek to understand the nature of the ice shell and the ocean beneath it, and also learn more about the moon’s composition and geology.

“The mission’s detailed exploration of Europa will help scientists better understand the astrobiological potential for habitable worlds beyond our planet,” NASA said.

But before the mission gets underway, earthlings have an excellent chance to get involved. So if you fancy sending your name on a space voyage, you know what to do.

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Trevor Mogg
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