What was once a childhood fantasy of exploring the moon as the comic book heroes did, and being referred to as a pioneering lunar explorer, is now possible. Well, sort of, technically. But the idea of having your name included in a database and placed on a microchip, integrated in NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (or LRO spacecraft) that will orbit the moon for many years to come, is close as one can get. NASA has been sending invitations to enlist one million names for this database for people of all ages all over the world, and the deadline is this Friday, June 27th!!!
Everyone who sends their name will be part of the next wave of lunar explorers. Those who would like to participate can submit their information to http://lro.jhuapl.edu/NameToMoon/. The LRO mission is the first step in NASA's plans to return humans to the moon by 2020, and your name will get there first. You can also print a certificate to confirm your participation. That's essentially a way of immortalizing your name and making a mark on the moon, even if you never set foot in it.
The Orbiter is made up of six instruments and one technology demonstration, tasked to provide the most comprehensive data set ever returned from the moon. The mission will concentrate on selecting safe landing sites and identification of lunar resources. It will also study how the lunar radiation environment would impact on humans. Those who join the Send Your Name To the Moon project need not worry about being asked to volunteer for the radiation experiment. They may use monkeys for that purpose, unless one qualifies to have the brain size and aptitude of a chimp, then that's a different story.
Join now. You have less than 2 days to enter your name. See you there!