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A Martian — even if only in name

NASA’s chip with a million names inscribed is a safer option than Mars One.

ET Bureau|
May 25, 2019, 09.16 AM IST
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Representative image.
It should have come as no surprise to most people that Mars One Ventures, which was supposed to send hundreds of people on a one-way trip to Mars allegedly to form a settlement there, went bankrupt in February 2019. Considering it had no real plan on how to get there much less create a self-sustaining community, it was a wonder that so many people responded to its call for volunteers on this journey-of-no-return.

Still, many may still long for at least a part of themselves being there in letter if not body or spirit on that red planet. So, Nasa’s latest offering seems eminently more doable — sending at least the names of actual people to Mars. Sadly, the lettering will not be visible to the naked eye as the text will a thousand times smaller than the breadth of a human hair. Presumably the lack of available space aboard the space vehicle necessitated downsizing — so that a million names can be inscribed on a single centimetre of surface. But it’s still better than only watching reruns of 'Total Recall' and imagining themselves in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s role.

Anyway, even if there will be no one on Mars to read those names, at least the senders will have a memento for their scrapbooks or grandchildren — a ‘boarding pass’ for the Mars trip with their monikers duly printed. But surely they deserve also some Mars dust as a souvenir?

From 'Armageddon' To 'Interstellar', Some Inspiration For Elon Musk’s New Space Suit

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Suit Up!

4 Sep, 2017
With Elon Musk recently unveiling the first image of a new space suit developed by SpaceX, here's a look at some of the iconic space suits from famous movies. Musk might as well take some notes.
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