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NASA Space

NASA To Send 1 Million People's Names To the Sun (theatlantic.com) 76

An anonymous reader shares a report: This summer, a NASA spacecraft will launch into space from the coast of Florida, headed for the sun. After making several flybys of Venus to slow itself down, the Parker Solar Probe will come within 4 million miles of the sun's scorching surface, closer than any spacecraft in history.

NASA is never one to miss an opportunity to drum up publicity for upcoming space missions, especially the less flashy ones. Sending something to study the star we see every day may sound less thrilling, for example, than launching a mission to find exoplanets around 200,000 stars. So in March, the space agency announced a little campaign to promote the Parker Solar Probe: Send us your names and we'll put them on a microchip inside a spacecraft bound for the sun. (They even got Star Trek actor William Shatner to help promote it.)

The call for names, which closed at the end of last week, received more than 1.1 million submissions, according to a spokesperson at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory, which designed and built the Parker Solar Probe. On the surface, the campaign was little more than a quirky act to get the public interested in space exploration. But considered more deeply, it represents the human desire to find ways to outlive ourselves and our bodies, to be remembered once our time here on Earth is up.

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NASA To Send 1 Million People's Names To the Sun

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  • I'm not sure how one can tell the difference, temperature-wise. Might need slightly more sunblock I suppose, perhaps SPF 10e40?
  • shame if something happened to it
  • by Anonymous Coward

    > The call for names, which closed at the end of last week

    Thanks for posting this *after* the deadline.

    • "Thanks for posting this *after* the deadline."

      Exactly what I thought upon reading the submission.

        Saving my time and effort to submit a bogus name
      in time for the deadline. THanks.

  • My name is several times on Mars.

    PS, I miss the jokes where they say that they land on the sun at night.

  • Cuz I can't really afford the rents there.

  • They stopped accepting names April 27th... booo

  • by Artem Tashkinov ( 764309 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2018 @04:33PM (#56537952) Homepage
    From http://parkersolarprobe.jhuapl... [jhuapl.edu] : "The deadline for submissions was April 27, 2018 at 11:59 PM EST and entries are no longer being accepted."
  • by supernova87a ( 532540 ) <kepler1@COBOLhotmail.com minus language> on Tuesday May 01, 2018 @04:35PM (#56537964)
    What's the point of bothering to encode names on a fucking microchip so small that no one can read it? At that point, I'm sure that any piece of matter has atoms arranged in a random pattern such that my name (and any number of other people's names) appears represented on it somewhere in the sequence....
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      What's the point of bothering to encode names on a fucking microchip so small that no one can read it? At that point, I'm sure that any piece of matter has atoms arranged in a random pattern such that my name (and any number of other people's names) appears represented on it somewhere in the sequence..

      To get people interested in STEM?

      Because really, it's pretty neat that anyone can do it, and if you're even slightly interested, well, why not? More importantly, it piques interest in something that basically

  • It would be great to have these articles before the deadline.

  • After making several flybys of Venus to slow itself down, the Parker Solar Probe will come within 4 million miles of the sun's scorching surface, closer than any Terran spacecraft in history.

    FTFY

  • >> They even got Star Trek actor William Shatner to help promote it.

    For free, I hope? Otherwise, this is a classic example of the government setting money on fire...to get more people interested in setting other money on fire.
  • by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2018 @05:01PM (#56538108)

    Having a million names on a micro chip? Seriously? That's all the room/weight allowance you got? I think not.

    You could easily get a billion names on a something pretty small and light.. Especially if you didn't really care to be able to read them later.

    Besides, who's going to know?

  • The call for names, which closed at the end of last week, received more than 1.1 million submissions,

    The new slashdot, always a day late and a dollar short.
  • I'm just going to change my name to one of theirs, then they will be sending MY name to the sun! Mwahahahaha...

    But seriously... if they want to get people interested in space exploration, all they need to do is promise each person who supports NASA and their mission their very own planet to rule when they die. Works for the Church of Joseph Smith ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, A.K.A. the Mormons.

    Okay, all kidding aside, maybe if NASA really wants to get people interested
  • They should toss out a grappling hook and yank the capsule with Elon's Tesla Roadster in it along for the ride to the sun.

  • They should contract out to the ARRL, who could send 1e6 names into the sun a lot more cost effectively, using massless photons instead of expensive rockets.

  • I was reminded of this one, Steve Martin's new phone book from "The Jerk"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • "But considered more deeply, it represents the human desire to find ways to outlive ourselves and our bodies, to be remembered once our time here on Earth is up."

    Mmm. Outlive? Did they miss this part? As stated by the always affable Douglas Adams:

    "What does sundive mean? The ship is going to dive into the sun. Sun. Dive. It's very simple to understand."

  • by jools33 ( 252092 ) on Wednesday May 02, 2018 @04:09AM (#56540286)

    I plan to send all of my atoms into the sun already - just mine won't be getting there for another 7.5 billion years or so.

  • I will be immortal! My memory will never fade because I plan to write my name on this little chip and launch it .... into the sun.

    I may not have thought this through. It may be a better idea to just put my name in a text file on a USB stick and drop it behind the couch. It will probably last longer than what is proposed here. :-)

  • So the Sun "news"paper can hold off the next round of phone hacks because they'll get them from NASA, or were they stuck and didn't know who to hack next and NASA is giving them a list of names? At least we got a heads up.

    *reads the summary*

    OH, you meant that Sun! Nevermind...

  • What if all of those people with those names turn to ashes?
    • What if all of those people with those names turn to ashes?

      So you're going all Picture of Dorian Grey on us?

      Or the sequel which was really stinky -- Picture of Durian Gray

  • While sending your own name into space on a rocket is a neat idea, the problem is with it being so close to the sun, radiation will likely have destroyed the probe before any future civilization gets a chance to even get to it.

  • Why the fancy name of Microchip? I can bet it's just a regular 32 GB MicroSD flash drive. Like the ones we use in our cell phones. SanDisk did say their flash drives are Water proof, shock proof, x-ray proof and temperature proof. What, temperature proof? You mean the sun? lol

  • Phawk Slashdot, how come I didn't read any of this last week in Slashdot???? Damn you!
  • On a chip near the Sun? What's the fun in that? Now if they were to send claim stakes to the Moon, preferably to mark that plot of Lunar real estate I remember getting many years ago (what did it cost me then? A buck? Can't remember.) ... now then, THAT would be impressive :-)

    Thousands of little sterilized metal or plastic stakes, fired out like from a giant shotgun, each one with a subscriber's name on it ... yep, I'd pay money for that :-)

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