Microchips made at Houston university aboard NASA’s moon-bound spacecraft

The University of Houston will have microchips that were created in one of their labs head to outer space during the Artemis 1 mission.

Dr. Long Chang is an associate research professor at the University of Houston.

Chang said NASA reached out to him in January of 2021 to ask if he could create microchips that would serve as a tribute to everyone that contributed to the Artemis program to return humans to the moon.

“I actually had to do some development because I wasn’t sure how to draw everyone’s name, you know at the time we were talking,” Chang said. “I decided to play around with this software package that allowed me to program the drawing. So because that worked out I was able to do it quickly.”

Chang said he was able to create 80 identical 8x8 millimeter microchips that each have 30,000 names, their affiliation, and their location.

“The thickness of our air is approximately .1 millimeters and so the width of one letter is about a thousand times smaller than that,” Long said.

Chang said the names were used to form three logos on each microchip – NASA, Artemis, and ETA, which are visible he said with an optical microscope.

The microchips will take a 36-day trip aboard the Orion Spacecraft, should NASA move forward with a second launch attempt of its moon rocket Saturday.

“I kept two for myself,” Chang added. “So, they’re sending 80 around the moon and back and back it returns they’re going to give it to certain people.”

Chang said he hopes this project will put the university’s nanofabrication lab on the map.