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Give a Trip to the Moon for Valentine's Day


Mat Kaplan
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +1-626-793-5100

Roses are red
Violets are blue;
I've made a wish
On the Moon for you!

The Planetary Society, in conjunction with The Planetary Society of Japan and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), urges romantics worldwide to "Wish Upon the Moon" for their valentines, sending names and messages on Japan's SELENE mission. Once a name and message is entered on The Planetary Society's website, a certificate, stating inclusion on the SELENE mission, can be downloaded.

From now until February 15, 2007, anyone who uploads a name and message can choose to download a special Valentine's Day version of the certificate, complete with little red hearts.

Valentine's certificates are not limited to sweethearts -- messages can be created for the boss, a best friend, or classmates. The creativity of wishes is limited only by the allowed character count of 60 characters for name and message combined. While Valentine's certificates are available until February 15, the final deadline for regular submissions is February 28, 2007.

JAXA was founded on October 1, 2003 as Japan's sole space agency by integrating three space-related organizations - the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, National Aerospace Laboratory and National Space Development Agency.

SELENE's primary mission objectives will be to globally investigate the Moon from a scientific viewpoint, thereby creating a more detailed map of the lunar surface and learning more about the origin and evolution of the Moon. The mission also seeks to develop technology for future lunar exploration. The year-long mission is scheduled to launch in summer 2007 and enter lunar orbit about a month later.

SELENE, which stands for SELenological and ENgineering Explorer, consists of three separate spacecraft -- a main spacecraft that will begin circling the Moon in an elliptical orbit and two small relay satellites that will go into a polar orbit. The main spacecraft will assume a polar orbit for the scientific lunar investigation. The scientific instruments on board the main orbiter will measure the Moon's magnetic field and map its gravity field. Instruments will also measure elemental and mineral distribution, surface structure, and the lunar environment.

In the past, lunar missions consisting of single spacecraft have been unable to map the gravity field of the far side of the Moon. Gravity experiments require a real-time radio link to Earth, so when a lunar orbiting spacecraft disappears behind the Moon, it is impossible to acquire the necessary data. SELENE's Relay satellite will permit the spacecraft to conduct gravity experiments on the far side of the Moon by relaying the radio transmissions from that region to Earth in real time.

As part of their Messages from Earth campaign, The Planetary Society is also collecting names to fly to Mars aboard a specialized silica-glass DVD on Phoenix, NASA's first Scout mission, led by Principal Investigator Peter Smith at the University of Arizona. The Phoenix mission is being managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 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. People around the world can add their own names (or those of family and friends). The deadline to submit names for this campaign is February 12, 2007 at noon Pacific time.

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