Follow this link to skip to the main content
NASA Banner

Learn More About Orion & Mars Launches

Your Name May Be on this Chip!

Your Name May Be on this Chip! 

This close-up image of the dime-size microchip, carries 1.3 million names that will fly aboard Orion. Engineers "wrote" 1.3 million names onto this tiny 0.8 cm-square (8 mm-square) silicon wafer microchip.
1 / 8
1.3 Million People Join the Journey

1.3 Million People Join the Journey 

Orion is scheduled to launch into space for the first time in December 2014. Its maiden voyage will take it farther than any human-flight spacecraft has traveled in more than 40 years. The hopes and dreams of Earth-bound space voyagers ride aboard Orion.
2 / 8
Chip Carries A Special Message

Chip Carries A Special Message 

Magnified 7500 times, this message on Orion's #JourneyToMars microchip precedes a list of more than 1.3 million names from around the world.
3 / 8
In Incredibly Tiny Type, the Spirit of Exploration Writ Large

In Incredibly Tiny Type, the Spirit of Exploration Writ Large 

To fit 1.3 million names on a dime-size silicon chip, engineers at the Microdevices Laboratory at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, used an electron beam to “write” extremely tiny letters with lines smaller than 1/1000th the width of a human hair.
4 / 8
"Nano-Writing" Technique Used on Rovers

"Nano-Writing" Technique Used on Rovers 

Normally used to make high-precision nanometer-scale devices, this technique was also used to “write” millions of names that were transported on Mars rovers. This image shows the two chips on the Mars rover Curiosity.
5 / 8
Big Machine for Tiny Writing

Big Machine for Tiny Writing 

Richard Muller is one of the engineers who worked on the Orion microchip. He's standing in front of the E-beam lithography tool that wrote more than 1.3 million names on the microchip that will fly on Orion.
6 / 8
Names on Chip

Names on Chip 

Magnified 500 times, a human hair would cover most of the names shown in this closeup of the Orion microchip. A human hair is about 100 micrometers or 0.0039 inches.
7 / 8
How Small is Small?

How Small is Small? 

Magnified 100,000 times, the horizontal lines in the letter "E" are about 70 nanometers wide. It is smaller than the smallest speck of beach sand you could find near Orion's launch site at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
8 / 8

Image Gallery

1