There’s a spacecraft heading to the sun with your name on it. At least there can be.
NASA wants to store your name on a microchip and hurl it toward the sun aboard its Parker Solar Probe, which will depart on a historic mission to Earth’s favorite star.
Space fans the world over can submit names to NASA online now through April 27 to climb aboard in name only, knowing their marked data will hit the sun’s atmosphere after the probe departs this summer.
Nicole Fox, a project scientist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, in a statement called the probe “literally, the fastest, hottest — and, to me, coolest — mission under the sun.”
The car-sized probe will soar at some 430,000 mph as it makes its closest approach to the sun, NASA said — fast enough to travel to Tokyo from D.C. in under a minute.
Worried your namesake data will melt within the sun’s atmosphere? Don’t. A shield of 4.5-inch-thick carbon composite will keep your data safe from the nearly 2,500-degree heat outside the craft.
The probe will arrive some 4 million miles from the sun’s surface. From there, scientists will study the sun’s particles and solar wind to better understand how its nature affects our solar system and world.
“This incredible spacecraft is going to reveal so much about our star and how it works that we’ve not been able to understand,” Fox, the project scientist, said in the statement.
The probe itself is named after Eugene Parker, an astrophysicist who researched how the sun gives off energy. It’s the first NASA spacecraft named after a living person.