Glory, launching in June 2009, will be an Earth-orbiting satellite that will study aerosols in the atmosphere and solar irradiance, both of which are important inputs into Earth's energy balance and global climate. The Glory mission announced in late September that they were inviting members of the public to sign up to send their names to Earth orbit, an activity that The Planetary Society has long advocated for in planetary missions, and which now seems to be spreading to Earth orbiters as well.
We're delighted to announce that NASA has just agreed to accept our list of tens of thousands of members for inclusion on the Glory names microchip. Now, of course, any person, whether they're a member of The Planetary Society or not, can go to the Glory website and sign their name up. But we think that sending names to space is such a cool idea that we try to get our full member list included on every spacecraft that's sending names to space, whether we're providing the hardware ourselves (as we did for Mars 96, Cosmos 1, the Mars Exploration Rovers, and Phoenix) or the space agency is building their own (as we did for Cassini-Huygens, Pathfinder, Stardust, Hayabusa, Deep Impact, New Horizons, Dawn, Kaguya, and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter). If you join the Society and keep up your membership you can be confident that your name will be flying on spacecraft traveling to all corners of the solar system and beyond. Our members' names are now sitting on Mars and on Itokawa; they're orbiting Saturn; they're flying toward Vesta, Pluto, and outward; and the atoms and electrons that once formed the names of our members are now one with the substance of comet Tempel 1, since the CD that carried their names was on the impactor that smashed into the comet and vaporized. Join by Monday and you'll be with all the members flying on Glory!