NASA wants to send your name to deep space. The move is part of an ongoing campaign that the space agency is calling “Message in a Bottle,” which will see several names and messages added to a microchip and shipped off to Europa, one of the Jovian moons.
The entire thing is part of the build-up for NASA’s Europa Clipper mission, which will see a spacecraft traveling to Jupiter and then exploring its moon Europa. The microchip will hitch a ride aboard the spacecraft through 1.8 billion miles of space, traveling to the icy moon where some scientists believe signs of life may be hiding under the moon’s frozen surface.
NASA says the Europa Message in a Bottle campaign will close on December 31, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. EST. That gives you just six short weeks to ensure you’ve added your message and name to the list of those who will travel to Europa next year. So far, the agency says it has gathered around 700,000 names to add to the pile.
Once all the names have been gathered, they’ll be stenciled into a dime-sized silicon microchip, with each line of text being roughly 1/1000th the width of a human hair (roughly 75 nanometers). The chip will then be attached to a metal plate with the original poem “In Praise of Mystery” engraved into it. The poem was written by Laureate Ada Limón to help celebrate the upcoming mission.
NASA expects the Europa mission to lift off in October of 2024, and once it does, the Message in a Bottle campaign will help to send out a time capsule of sorts aboard the spacecraft as it travels through our solar system to the regions of deep space that Jupiter and its moons call home. You can sign your name and join the hundreds of thousands already listed by heading to NASA’s website.