A NEW Forest care home is seeing stars thanks to the maiden flight of NASA’s Orion ‘Mars ship’.
The names of residents at Colten Care’s Woodpeckers home were among more than a million on a microchip carried on the unmanned Orion space capsule.
Shirley Smith, activities organiser at the Brockenhurst home, submitted the names online after reading about NASA’s mission to land a human on Mars.
They were blasted into space along with other mementos and historically significant items including a tiny sample of lunar soil and a prehistoric fossil from a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Shirley said: “I’m a great space enthusiast so when I read about this I thought it was too good an opportunity to miss.
“We’ve presented our residents with official NASA boarding passes and everyone feels part of what looks set to be an historic mission.”
Orion was launched on a Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on December 5, for a short journey above the Earth to test key technologies.
The capsule is being developed alongside a powerful new rocket that will have its own debut in 2017 or 2018.
Together, they will form the core capabilities needed to send humans beyond the International Space Station to destinations such as the Red Planet.
The first launch with a crew aboard could be as early as 2020 if all goes to plan.