Space has always been a fascination of mine. I love to read books, watch movies, and delve into documentaries about space. The vastness of space is both thrilling and intimidating to me. Just thinking about traveling to someplace like Mars makes my heart race, my breathing speed up, and my mind swirl with thoughts and ideas.

It sounds like I’d be super exited to travel to someplace like Mars, right? Wrong. I have a panic attack driving through the wide open spaces of Kansas, no less flying in a rocket through nothingness to the red planet. My husband wants to take me on a cruise, but the thought of not seeing a shoreline makes me want to run around screaming and yelling like a crazy person. Can you imagine me, in the rocket, acting like a crazy person, and trying to get the pilot to turn around? I have issues. Big ones.

If you think I lied to you before about my fascination with space, I didn’t. As long as I can appreciate space from my home on earth, I can’t get enough of the universe. As a child, I followed Captain Kirk to every planet and every alien he made out with. At eleven years old,  I pretended I was Princess Leia by styling my hair into giant honey buns on the side of my head. Fast forward to me taking my young children, along with some neighbor kids, to see Star Wars, Episode 1, opening day at Stadium 16 on the Westside of Evansville. I am also obsessed with documentaries about the universe and I want to ask Neil deGrasse Tyson to be my best friend.

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Those are just a few of the ways I feed my fascination with all things space. I also follow NASA’s continued quest in space exploration. The landing of the Perseverance Rover on Mars had my glued to their LIVE YouTube video feed. I have to admit, I DID think about how cool it will be when the things we only see in movies and video games become a reality and humans can actually travel to Mars for a visit. Then, I started having a panic attack thinking about the flight to Mars, and that was that.

Mars, Earth and the Moon.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

However, I did find a way for me to go to Mars without having to travel for nine months in a small rocket. My NAME can go for me. Yep, my name and your name can go too.

What does submitting my name do? All submitted names are reviewed, approved and then etched onto a microchip. The microchip is placed aboard the Mars 2020 rover, which will land on Mars. If you are sending your name on a future mission to Mars, your flight has not been identified yet. - NASA

Look, I’m going to Mars on the next scheduled flight, July of 2026. 

Click here to register your name for the next Mars trip. See you there!

landscape on planet Mars, scenic desert scene on the red planet (3d space rendering)
Getty Images/iStockphoto


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