Here’s a first. Planetary Society Advisor Jon Lomberg wants to send your name across the galaxy. You can hear how and why on this week’s Planetary Radio.
His work on the Voyager Interstellar Record, and especially its cover design, is prominently displayed on the side of Voyager 1, which has now passed into interstellar space. Voyager 2 will be next. Lomberg collaborated with Carl Sagan for 24 years, illustrating most of his books, and serving as Chief Artist for the original Cosmos TV series. He also designed the Society's famous sailing ship logo, and worked with us on other projects.
Add the two Pioneer spacecraft, and you have four robotic emissaries that have either departed or will be leaving the solar system before long. The fifth, and possibly the last for many years, is New Horizons, now less than two years from its closest pass to Pluto. But New Horizons has no physical message for ET.
Jon realized not long ago that it might be possible to upload a digital message to the probe. The concept has now taken off as the New Horizons Message Initiative.
Many more details can be heard on PlanRad, including your opportunity to sign the petition to NASA asking for support of the initiative. New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern has thrown his support behind the effort. Jon and Alan have now promised that the first 10,000 people to sign on will have digital versions of their names uploaded as part of the message. Jon hopes it will also include music, pictures and more, much like the Voyager records launched in 1977.
Also this week, Emily Lakdawalla reports from the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Denver, and Bill Nye soaks himself in the news that 2% of Martian soil analyzed by Curiosity is water. Which nebula belongs in “The Godfather?” That’s the question that might win you a swag kit from the movie “Gravity,” including a nice hoody. Bruce Betts will tell you how to enter during the What’s Up segment. Just another example of the fun to be had out among the stars.