A Regina woman can now stake her small claim to Mars, at least in name.
Debbi-Lynn Bateson is part of a NASA program that has taken people’s names all the way to Mars. In fact, she’s done it twice.
The space agency etched more than 57,000 Canadians’ names onto a microchip that it landed on the red planet on Monday as part of its InSight research mission.
“I did the Orion (in 2014), and this is my second flight. So I’m considered a frequent flyer by NASA,” she said.
After the two trips, NASA sent Bateson an e-boarding pass that shows her name, InSight launch date and the total number of kilometres her name has travelled — 484.8 million.
She says Mars and space exploration has always been an interest of hers.
“I think it’s probably narcissistic to think that we’re only the best of the best. It’s interesting to think that there are other things out there,” she said.
As the InSight mission begins its two-year project of studying the planet’s interior and the geological history of how it formed, Bateson says it’s a good chance to learn more about life on Mars.
“I think that’s a good opportunity to figure out what the possibility of life on Mars is,” she said.
But she’s not yet ready to commit to the idea of living on the planet if the opportunity were to ever arise.
“I’ll probably just stay here in Saskatchewan,” she said.
She estimated there are about 2.4 million people worldwide that participated in the InSight microchip program.