In fact, India is preceded only by the US (6.76L) and China (2.62L) in terms of numbers of applicants!
These people aren't actually going to Mars: when the Insight leaves on its mission, it will carry a silicon wafer microchip bearing all their names.
24.3L people to 'visit' Mars next year
The program will help us understand formation of rocky planets
The Insight will be launched in May'18 and will land on Mars in November. The 720-day mission will be the first to explore the Red Planet's interiors.
It will analyze "marsquakes" that travel through geological surfaces at varying speeds and give clues about the material's structure.
These and other findings will help scientists understand the formation of other rocky planets too, including earth.
Apart from scientific purposes, a rare opportunity for space enthusiasts
In 2015, NASA invited people to add their names to a silicon microchip and received 827,000 applications. In October'17, it re-opened invitations for a second microchip.
Those who signed up got 'boarding passes' as well as 'frequent flier' points.
If you missed out on this chance, you will have to wait for the next opportunity, the Exploration Mission-1, but that's coming two years later.
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Should we be excited by India's enthusiastic participation?
According to space experts, that Indian participation stands next to China is a significant matter. Its position among the top-three has been attributed to a general excitement about Mars missions thanks to Mangalyaan, and stronger India-US space ties.
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