It’s a great idea, so all the missions might as well join in. Earlier today, Ian reported on how the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission is offering the chance for the public to ‘ride along’ to the moon by sending their names to be added to a computer chip which will be embedded on the spacecraft. Well, not to be outdone, the upcoming Kepler mission that will search for Earth-sized exoplanets is offering the same chance. But this is no sluff opportunity where you just fill in your name and you’re done: you’ve got to work a little and be creative! The Kepler folks would like you to also state in 100 words or less why you think the Kepler mission is important. I think that’s a great idea, and I’m going to add my name and statement right away. But there’s more reasons why I prefer the Kepler mission’s approach to sending your name to space:
Your name will be in an exciting Earth-trailing heliocentric orbit, going around the sun every 372.5 days.
This activity is done in association with the International Year of Astronomy 2009.
Your name will be on the spacecraft that will likely identify the first Earth-sized or smaller planet orbiting another star.
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Your name will be launched on board a Delta II rocket.
Your name will be part of the mission that will determine the frequency of terrestrial and larger planets in or near the habitable zone of a wide variety of spectral types of stars.
Oh, the list goes on, but as you can see the Kepler mission will be THE mission to have your name be included.
So, here’s where you can add your name, as well as your statement of the importance of the Kepler mission. The deadline is November 1, 2008. And learn more about the mission here. Current plans are for a February 2009 launch for Kepler.
Original News Source: JPL press release