To increase awareness of their upcoming launch of the Parker Solar Probe, NASA is giving people the chance to get their name on the spacecraft on its mission towards the sun. The Parker Solar Probe will swoop to within 4 million miles of the sun’s surface, facing heat and radiation like no spacecraft before it. Launching later this summer, Parker Solar Probe will provide new data on solar activity and make critical contributions to our ability to forecast major space-weather events that impact life on Earth.
NASA is inviting people around the world to submit their names online to be placed on a microchip aboard the Parker Solar Probe. The mission will travel through the Sun’s atmosphere, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions — and your name will go along for the ride. People can submit their name on an online form here. Those that do will receive a souvenir certificate “VIP Pass” ticket to mark the moment.
In 2017, the mission was renamed for Eugene Parker, the S. Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. In the 1950s, Parker proposed a number of concepts about how stars—including our Sun—give off energy. He called this cascade of energy the solar wind, and he described an entire complex system of plasmas, magnetic fields, and energetic particles that make up this phenomenon. Parker also theorized an explanation for the superheated solar atmosphere, the corona, which is – contrary to what was expected by physics laws — hotter than the surface of the sun itself. This is the first NASA mission that has been named for a living individual.