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NASA and Captain Kirk want your name to touch the sun

NASA recruits William Shatner to encourage the public to send their names to the sun on board the Parker Solar Probe.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser

Don't worry. Your good name won't burn up on arrival at the sun. 

NASA's Parker Solar Probe has a 4.5-inch-thick (11.4-centimeter) carbon-composite shield to protect it from the sun's blazing atmosphere when it reaches its destination. The probe is scheduled to launch this summer.

Actor William Shatner, famous for his role as Captain Kirk on "Star Trek," has teamed up with NASA to promote the solar mission and encourage people around the world to follow the probe on its unprecedented journey to the sun. 

The probe will carry a microchip full of the names of anybody who wants to sign up to send a moniker along for the exciting ride. NASA is calling it a "Hot Ticket" and will accept name submissions at the Parker Solar Probe site until April 27.

Shatner refers to the mission as a "voyage of extreme exploration" in a NASA video. The Parker Solar Probe, which NASA says is about the size of a small car, will brave extreme temperatures and blasting radiation to come within 4 million miles (6.4 million kilometers) of the sun's surface. 

"This incredible spacecraft is going to reveal so much about our star and how it works that we've not been able to understand," says NASA project scientist Nicola Fox.

NASA has offered the name-on-a-microchip experience for other missions, including the upcoming InSight Mars lander. If you've been busy signing up for these microchips, then you can tell people you're spreading your name across the solar system thanks to NASA. 

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