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NASA pushes to get more names in for chip headed to Jupiter's moon

The space agency says a fast-approaching deadline to add names to a chip that will travel to deep space is coming, and is urging more people to join.
NASA pushes to get more names in for chip headed to Jupiter's moon
Posted at 9:53 PM, Nov 13, 2023

NASA is urging those who want to participate to enter in their names before a fast-approaching deadline in a project to send a chip with the data to one of Jupiter's moons. 

The space agency says potential participants have until Dec. 31 to have names engraved onto a chip that will make the 1.8 billion-mile journey to explore Europa, one of the ringed planet's moons.

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NASA is calling it their "Message in a Bottle" campaign and said around 700,000 names had been submitted so far. 

When the names are all submitted by the deadline, NASA says technicians with their Microdevices Laboratory plan to use a beam to stencil the names onto a microchip that is the size of a dime. Each of the lines of text will be smaller than 1/1000th of the width of a human hair, which equals to about 75 nanometers. 

The chip, which is going to be carried on NASA's Europa Clipper, has been assigned a mission by the space agency to determine if Europa can support life in or under its icy surface. Scientists believe a vast ocean lies under Europa's icy "shell."

The ship will be attached to a metal plate with the poem "In Praise of Mystery," written by Poet Laureate Ada Limón. Participants will be able to create and download a customizable souvenir from their website to commemorate the experience. 

Water is essential to supporting the chemistry necessary to make life on Earth possible, and potentially any other planet as well. Europa will need to have elements including hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and sulfur which are considered the essential building blocks to support life. Jupiter has a strong gravitational pull which creates tides that "stretch and tug" on the moon, an action that produces heat. That is how the icy moon which is located far away from the sun may have the energy that is needed to sustain life. 

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