New Delhi: Equipped with proper online 'boarding passes', more than one lakh Indians are all set to travel to Mars.
The flight to the Red Planet was 'booked' via NASA's InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) mission slated for launch on May 5, 2018.
Overall, 2.4 million people from around the world will be 'travelling' to Mars.
The names of all the passengers will be etched on to a silicon wafer microchip using an electron beam to form letters with lines one one-thousandth the diameter of a human hair. This chip will then be attached to the top hull of the lander.
NASA on Wednesday stated, that India ranks third in the global list with regard to the number of names submitted for the Mars mission.
The first is the US with 6,76,773 names followed by China with 2,62,752 names. India stands at number three.
Space experts aren't surprised with US leading the list, since it is, after all, a NASA mission. However, the fact that India ranks one after China is a matter of significance, due to two factors – the heightened interest and curiosity triggered by India's path-breaking Mangalyaan mission and the overall strengthening of India-US ties.
NASA's InSight is a 720-day mission which aims to collect data on the Martian interior by monitoring 'Marsquakes'.
The mission also aspires to gain broader insight into the formation of rocky planets in the entire solar system.