I unhesitatingly and unthinkingly added my name to a list being sent on a microchip to Mars aboard the Mars Science Laboratory rover later this year. That’s the only way to go. If I stopped and thought about it at all, why would I do it?
Will anybody ever find that chip? Why would anybody read it if they did? And since earthbound operating systems change so often, often ceasing to support previous file types, what are the odds that NASA itself won’t be able to read the chip by the time astronauts go looking for the rover?
Pshaw — only a party pooper cares about those questions. The correct response is, “Yippee! My name’s going to Mars!”
And a lot of people must feel that way. There were 480,280 U.S. names already on the list when I logged in. Another 644,726 have been entered by the rest of the world.
There are 69,917 from the United Kingdom alone. I assume they’re all real, though I wouldn’t mind discovering they were added by a robotic application authored by that same admirer of Plokta who stuffed the Scifi.com Hugo nominee poll in 2003 and helped Plokta beat Emerald City 10,186 to 643 in the Best Fanzine category.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]