So I just scheduled my two grandsons and myself for a voyage to the moon…
Not personally, and we won’t be landing, but our names will be orbiting the moon on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter ( LRO for short ) that NASA is sending out, thanks to the Planetary Society . Unfortunately the cut-off date is today, so by the time you read this, it will probably be too late – but all is not lost!
The Signatures ( what the list of names are called ) on the LRO are part of an ongoing effort that has been going on for a while now – it’s part of the Planetary Society’s “Messages From Earth” project. They have already sent disks or other media to many different locations such as the Mars Pathfinder and Mars Rovers. Signatures along with other material have also traveled with some of our outer reaching satellites like LRO including Stardust and Dawn to name just a few.
The signature collection for LRO is already closing as it will be launched sometime near the end of the year, but there will be other efforts as well, many, many others. I figure that by the time my grandsons get old enough they’ll have quite a collection of certificates (issued in PDF format – which of course I will print off on nice velum for them ) to start their own science project on…
What I am really waiting to hitch a ride on (signature wise ) is the first Solar Sailing project – Cosmos II (Solar Sailing is just that – putting out sails to catch the breeze of ions coming from the Sun ) – to me that is the stuff of Science Fiction except the Planetary Society is going to make it happen! They already tried once with Cosmos I – but unfortunately the launch rocket failed and it was destroyed before getting into orbit – Cosmos II will be the next attempt – WOW!
There is a lot happenning with and through the Planetary Society, with a lot of very prominent people associated with it. Founded by Bruce Murray , Carl Sagan and Louis Friedman it has grown into a phenomenal resource for anyone interested in Space. The sad part is that I didn’t even know about it and I’m sure there are thousands and thousands of other people out there who were in my boat!
I received a membership as a Christmas Gift thanks to my wife – it will be a gift that keeps on giving for years and years to come. If you are serious about space and want to know more, want your kids to know more or are just plain curious, you need to subscribe to the Planetary Society and benefit from the wealth of material that is available to members.
Aside from bi-monthly magazines and updates they also have freely recorded courses on astronomy and enough information to fill two libraries of any size. A lot of the information on their website is free, signing up ( your name that is ) for the next satellite or rover is free, subscription to all their space news is free, but none of it would be available without subscriptions or donations.
Check out The Planetary Society and if you are serious about what they have to offer subscribe – it’s a small price to pay to support such a wealth of information!