Almost 7,000 people in Cyprus have now signed up to have their names included on a microchip being sent to Mars, according to CNA.
The number has increased by 1,000 in the past two months and people have until the end of September to sign up.
The names will be sent with the Mars 2020 rover and NASA invited the public from all over the world to submit their names. The rover is scheduled to launch as early as July 2020, with the spacecraft expected to touch down on Mars in February 2021.
Last November, NASA’s InSight rover landed on Mars carrying chips with the names of 2.4 million people. Among them were 983 people from Cyprus.
At the moment, globally, some eight million people have signed up, 6,922 in Cyprus.
Most of those who signed up were Turks with 2.493 million, followed by Indians with 1.1m, Americans 839,829, Chinese 211,721 and Israeli 195,047 and Greeks 17,814 so far.
These numbers are expected to increase significantly by the deadline set by NASA, which expires at the end of September.
NASA’s new Mars 2020 rover will look for signs of microbial life in the past of Mars, study the climate and geology of the planet, collect samples for a future return to Earth and pave the way for human exploration.
NASA plans to return to the moon in 2024 and send the first astronauts to Mars in the mid 2030s.
The deadline to add a name for the next trip is September 30. Those who sign up get a souvenir boarding pass.]