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NASA invites you to travel to the Moon

Well, your name at least

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NASA is inviting citizens of Earth to add their name to an electronic roll-call destined to travel to the Moon aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) later this year.

All you have to do is enter your details here, and they'll be put into a database for later storage on a chip aboard the LRO.

Cathy Peddie, deputy project manager for LRO at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, enthused: "Everyone who sends their name to the moon, like I'm doing, becomes part of the next wave of lunar explorers. The LRO mission is the first step in NASA's plans to return humans to the moon by 2020, and your name can reach there first. How cool is that?"

Once you've submitted your name, you get a printable certificate of participation - a nice touch for kids. The deadline for lunar explorers is 27 June.

The LRO is part of NASA's planned return to the Moon, and its objectives are "finding safe landing sites, locate potential resources, characterize the radiation environment, and demonstrate new technology".

The spacecraft will pack an array of instruments, including LEND (to "provide measurements, create maps, detecting possible near-surface water ice deposits"), LROC (to "address the measurement requirements of landing site certification and polar illumination") and LOLA, which will "provide a precise global lunar topographic model and geodetic grid". NASA has more tech details here. ®

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