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Nearly 11 million names are etched on silicon chips that are being held on an aluminum plate on the rover. On the plate, there is a message stating “Explore As One,” written in Morse code, NASA tweeted on Monday.
The “Send Your Name to Mars” logo is installed on the Mars Perseverance rover on March 16, 2020, inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: NASA/JPL)
“Some of you spotted the special message I’m carrying to Mars along with the 10.9+ million names you all sent in,” NASA tweeted. “‘Explore As One’ is written in Morse code in the Sun’s rays, which connect our home planet with the one I’ll explore. Together, we persevere.”
Last week, NASA announced the final results of the “Send Your Name to Mars” campaign, resulting in slightly more than 10.9 million names being etched on the rover.
In addition to the names, the plate also shows a diagram of Earth, Mars and the sun, with the rays spelling “Explore as One” in the aforementioned Morse code.
This is not the first time NASA has used Morse code on a Mars rover. The wheels on the Curiosity rover have tracks that spell out “JPL” in Morse code, a nod to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
This rover will attempt to detect if there is any fossilized evidence of extraterrestrial beings, in addition to other tasks.
Once Perseverance lands on Mars, it will join the still functioning Curiosity rover and the now-deceased Opportunity rover on the Red Planet. Unlike Curiosity or Opportunity, this rover will carry the “first helicopter that will fly on another planet,” NASA added.
NASA’s long-term goal is to send a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s.