Over 12,000 people in just two weeks have signed The Planetary Society's Declaration in Support of Space Exploration in the wake of the Columbia tragedy. The Star Trek and SETI@home communities have lent their support to the Society's Declaration and are encouraging their members to sign.
The Declaration states, "We, the undersigned members and friends of The Planetary Society, stand ready to help the United States recover from this tragedy. We offer our support to NASA in its continuing exploration. Our human and robotic explorers must continue the great adventure so boldly begun."
"Since the tragic loss of Columbia, a national debate has begun about the role of human spaceflight," said Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society. "The Planetary Society, which supports both human and robotic spaceflight, is an active participant in this debate and urges individuals to let their voices be heard by signing the Declaration."
Actors and other members of the Star Trek community joined with Society members to support the Declaration, with signatories including Robert Picardo and Tim Russ of Star Trek Voyager, Nichelle Nichols and George Takei of the original series, Wil Wheaton of Star Trek: the Next Generation, and Eugene Roddenberry Jr, the son of Star Trek's creator.
"Although the recent tragedy envelops us all, to falter in our commitment to the future of human and robotic exploration of space is a disservice to the dedicated men and women who serve as architects of our future," said Picardo, a member of The Planetary Society's Advisory Council.
The SETI@home project, a search for extraterrestrial intelligence that utilizes the computing power of multiple personal computers, has posted a link on its website to the Declaration, encouraging their four million participants to sign.
Members of the public who believe in space exploration can magnify their support by joining with a larger community to sign the Declaration on the Society's website. The Planetary Society will present the Declaration and signatures to NASA.