PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Stephanie R. Zeluck
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJune 6, 1996
'SEND YOUR SIGNATURE TO SATURN' DRAWS HUGE RESPONSE
Volunteers have been busy sorting, counting and scanning the
many thousands of postcards and letters sent in by citizens who
want to fly their signatures to Saturn on a CD-ROM aboard NASA's
Cassini spacecraft, scheduled for launch in late 1997.
Since the invitation was made public in February, many
thousands of people worldwide have eagerly sent in their
signatures to the Cassini program office at NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA, for a chance to send their
names into space. Recently, the program office has received an
average of 25,000 to 40,000 signatures each week. About 250,000
signatures have been received from all 50 U.S. states and many
"I am overwhelmed by the response we are getting to
announcements of our program to 'send your name to Saturn,'" said
Suzanne Barber, manager of the Cassini administration office.
"We've also gotten wonderful messages expressing people's
excitement about being part of this adventure. The notes come
from people of all ages and backgrounds, from school children to
astronomers working at observatories around the world."
Incoming mail to the signature project is picked up from JPL
by volunteer members of the Planetary Society, a Pasadena-based
non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of the
planetary sciences. Once sorted, counted and scanned, the
signatures will be digitized and placed on a CD-ROM or digital
video disc (DVD) and carried aboard Cassini. The spacecraft will
arrive at Saturn in July 2004 after a nearly seven-year voyage
Several groups have gathered hundreds of signatures at a
time, including teachers eager to give their students a chance to
send their names beyond Earth's orbit and into space.
"The level of enthusiasm for the Cassini signature CD-ROM
effort is the greatest we've ever seen for any previous
programs," said Dave Hagie, a volunteer at The Planetary Society.
"We're getting boxes of manila envelopes full of signatures from
school kids." So far, volunteers have counted more than 200,000
signatures from around the world, with the most having been
received from California.
Included among the postcards have been many inspirational
messages. "This may be my only chance to make it into space,"
read one card, and another contained the signatures of a young
girl who had recently died, her father having sent in the
Postcards or letter-size sheets with multiple signatures can
be sent to: Cassini Program, Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena, CA 91109. Confirmations of receipt will be sent if a
self-addressed, stamped envelope is sent along with the
signatures. Notes may be sent along with the signatures, but
only the signatures will be scanned. E-mail submissions will not
be accepted, and the Cassini program will continue to accept
signatures until January 1, 1997, unless the CD-ROM storage
capacity is exhausted sooner.
Cassini, scheduled for launch on October 6, 1997, is a joint
mission of NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space
Agency. It will send an atmospheric probe called Huygens to the
surface of Saturn's moon Titan. The Cassini spacecraft will orbit
Saturn for four years, gathering data on Saturn, its rings,
magnetic environment, and moons.
The Cassini home page at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/cassini
provides additional information about the Saturn mission.