The name of Lord Venkateswara of the famous hill shrine at Tirumala, stencilled in micro chips and affixed on NASAs Mars 2020 Rover, would fly to the Red Planet, former director of National Mission of Manuscripts and an ardent devotee V Venkata Ramana Reddy said recently. "I have submitted the sacred name of Lord Venkateswara and got the souvenir boarding pass in the name of the Lord from the official website of NASA," Reddy, also formerly professor of Oriental Research Institute in Sri Venkateswara University. The Lord's name would be among 10 million names stencilled on microchips affixed on the Rover, the American space agency has said.
The submission of names at the NASA website for the "Send Your Name to Mars" campaign has ended. "I am a strong supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and an ardent devotee of Lord Venkateswara, and I am delighted to send the name of the ancient and world famous Tirumala shrines presiding deity to Mars," he said.
NASA had invited the public to submit their names to fly to the red planet. The mission is scheduled for launch in July 2020, with the spacecraft expected to touch down on Mars in February 2021.
The Rover would search for signs of past microbial life, characterise the planet's climate and geology, collect samples from Mars.
Meanwhile, NASA’s Mars Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander detected mysterious magnetic pulses on the Red planet. However, the cause of the pulsation is currently unknown. The information was presented at the joint meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress and the American Astronomical Society, taking place in Geneva. The Insight Lander has been on the red planet since November 2018.
“What's unusual about this occasional magnetic pulsation or wobbling is that it happens at a time when such events would be unlikely on Earth, where they are often related to northern or southern lights,” explained National Geographic.
According to NASA, the lander uses cutting edge instruments, to delve deep beneath the surface and seek the fingerprints of the processes that formed the terrestrial planets. It does so by measuring the planet's "vital signs": its "pulse" (seismology), "temperature" (heat flow), and "reflexes" (precision tracking).
This mission is part of NASA's Discovery Program for highly focused science missions that ask critical questions in solar system science. The InSight mission seeks to uncover how a rocky body forms and evolves to become a planet by investigating the interior structure and composition of Mars.