FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 30, 2006
Contact Susan Lendroth
Voice: (626) 793-5100
Fax: (626) 793-5528
Fly Your Name on NASA’s Phoenix Mission to Mars
The Planetary Society Will Send a Message from Earth and Visions of
Pasadena, CA, - One day, humans will land on Mars, and when they do, a
message will be waiting for them.
In 2007, The Planetary Society will send a specialized silica-glass DVD
to Mars aboard Phoenix, NASA’s newest Scout mission, led by Principal
Investigator Peter Smith at the University of Arizona. The disk, which
is attached to the deck of the Phoenix lander, will include “Visions of
Mars,” a collection of 19th and 20th century stories, essays, and art
inspired by the Red Planet. The disk also includes special features,
such as the famous 1938 radio broadcast of HG Wells’ classic, “War of
People around the world can add their own names (or those of family and
friends) to the archival disk that features the works of such
visionaries as The Planetary Society’s co-founder Carl Sagan, Isaac
Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Percival Lowell, and many more.
The Planetary Society is collecting up to several million names to send
on the Mars-bound DVD. Visit The Planetary Society’s website
http://planetary.org/phoenixdvd to fly a name to Mars.
Phoenix will be the first lander to explore the Martian arctic, landing
near 70 degrees north latitude. Designed to search for and study water
ice, the spacecraft is a fixed lander with a suite of advanced
instruments and a robotic arm that can dig up to a meter into the soil.
The Phoenix team hopes to uncover clues in the icy soil of the Martian
arctic about the history of near surface ice and its potential for
habitability. Launching in August 2007, Phoenix will land in May 2008.
The DVD will also include a greeting and essay from the mission
Principal Investigator, Peter Smith, and additional information about
the Phoenix mission.
“Since the DVD will appear in some of the calibration images that
Phoenix sends back from the surface, those who send their names will,
some sense, be able to see themselves on Mars!” said Bruce Betts, the
Planetary Society’s Director of Projects. “Well, sort of…”
The special disk should last for at least many hundreds of years on
Mars, plenty of time for a future generation to discover and read the
Red Planet’s first library. Disk contents represent 20 nations and
Sending this DVD from Earth aboard Phoenix will be The Planetary
Society’s second attempt to cast this particular “message in a bottle”
into the currents of space. “Visions of Mars” was created by the
Society and placed aboard Russia’s Mars 96 spacecraft. That mission
failed shortly after launch. The Planetary Society has also helped
collect names for several other space missions, including Stardust, the
Mars Exploration Rovers, Deep Impact, Mars Pathfinder, and Cassini.
Anyone may submit names to The Planetary Society to fly to Mars,
including - in addition to their own - the names of children and
grandchildren, classmates, friends, loved ones who have passed, or even
a favorite family pet. Once a name is entered on The Planetary Society
website, a certificate, stating that name’s inclusion on the Phoenix
Mars DVD, can be downloaded.
The deadline for submitting names is February 1, 2007.
The Phoenix Mission is led by Principal Investigator Peter H. Smith of
the University of Arizona, with project management at NASA’s Jet
Propulsion Laboratory and development partnership with Lockheed Martin
Space Systems. International contributions for Phoenix are provided by
the Canadian Space Agency, the University of Neuchatel (Switzerland),
the University of Copenhagen, and the Max Planck Institute in Germany.
About the Planetary Society
The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other
worlds and seek other life. Today, its international membership makes
the non-governmental Planetary Society the largest space interest group
in the world. Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded The
Planetary Society in 1980.