The Planetary Society will pay tribute to Sir Arthur C. Clarke, its long time friend, Advisor and supporter, in a special Planetary Radio show airing Monday, March 24, 2008, and throughout the following week. Planetary Radio is carried on more than 120 independent stations, XM Public Radio, and on the Society's website.
A supporter of The Planetary Society since its inception, Clarke has been involved in many of our projects, including the Visions of Mars DVD currently en route to Mars aboard the Phoenix spacecraft. Attached to the deck of the Phoenix lander, this first library on Mars includes a collection of 19th and 20th century stories, essays and art inspired by the Red Planet -- including Clarke's novel The Sands of Mars -- as well as the names of more than a quarter million inhabitants of Earth.
"Arthur was omnipresent and prescient in nearly every space exploration activity we could think of," said Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society. "He took part in many of our programs, was a contributor to our founding, and to our Cosmos 1 Solar Sail project, as well as to Visions of Mars," he added.
Visions of Mars also includes spoken greetings to hoped-for future explorers of Mars, including one recorded a few years ago by Clarke at his home in Sri Lanka. Against a background of tropical birdsong, Clarke greeted future inhabitants of the Red Planet:
"I, too, salute you across the gulfs of space as I send my greetings and good wishes from the closing decade of the century in which mankind first became a spacefaring species and set forth on a journey that will never end so long as the universe endures."
The Planetary Society will celebrate the Phoenix landing in the Martian arctic on May 25 with Planetfest, in Pasadena, California, and by co-hosting additional events with institutions around the country. Planetfest will include a tribute to Clarke, hosted by Society Advisor Donna Shirley, former director of Seattle's Science Fiction Museum.
Read more about Clarke and his decades working with The Planetary Society.
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 a 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.