NASA is inviting people around the world to submit their names online to be placed on a microchip aboard NASA’s historic Parker Solar Probe mission, to be launched this summer.
The mission will travel through the Sun’s atmosphere, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions — and your name will go along for the ride. The submissions of names will be accepted until April 27, the US space agency said in a statement on Thursday.
“This probe will journey to a region humanity has never explored before. This mission will answer questions scientists have sought to uncover for more than six decades,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for Science Mission Directorate at NASA.
The spacecraft — about the size of a small car — will travel directly into the Sun’s atmosphere about four million miles from the star’s surface.
The primary goals of the mission are to track how energy and heat move through the solar corona and to explore what accelerates the solar wind as well as solar energetic particles.
To perform the investigations, the spacecraft and instruments will be protected from the Sun’s heat by a 4.5-inch-thick carbon-composite shield.
The state-of-the-art heat shield will keep the four instrument suites designed to study magnetic fields, plasma and energetic particles, and image the solar wind at room temperature.
In May 2017, NASA renamed the spacecraft from the Solar Probe Plus to the Parker Solar Probe in honour of astrophysicist Eugene Parker.