6 August 1998
(Washington, DC) -- August 6 -- The National Space Society (NSS) and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) announce that, as of 5:49 pm PT yesterday, the one millionth name was entered for inclusion onto a microchip that will fly next year on board the NASA/JPL Stardust mission to collect cometary dust particles. The one million name goal was announced by the NSS and NASA/JPL in May in conjunction with the release of Paramount and DreamWorks Pictures' release of the film, "Deep Impact."
"JPL had started to collect names on their own when we suggested teaming up to go for the one million mark on this second microchip," said Pat Dasch, NSS Executive Director. "We knew it was an ambitious goal, but with the combined visibility of JPL's site and our site, and after we hit the 500,000 mark in early July, we knew it would be an attainable one. What a thrill for all of those people to know they are 'on their way' to a comet when the Stardust mission launches. We're very pleased to have partnered with JPL on this special outreach project."
Names on board the microchip include all members of the National Space Society; the members of the cast and crew of "Deep Impact" including actress Tea Leoni and actor Morgan Freeman; U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Space & Aeronautics; and shuttle astronaut Roger Crouch.
Additional names can still be submitted through the NSS website through mid-August. The names will be electronically etched onto a fingernail-size silicon chip and can then be read only with the aid of an electron microscope. Those submitting their names are granting permission for the Stardust project and its partners to use the names in possible future exhibits and/or publications.
Stardust is being prepared for launch by NASA to intercept Comet Wild-2, collect comet dust particles and deliver them back to Earth in January 2006, according to mission plans.
The National Space Society, which celebrates 25 years in 1999,
is an independent, nonprofit space advocacy organization
headquartered in Washington, DC. Its 23,000 members and 90 chapters
around the world actively promote a spacefaring civilization.
Information on NSS and space exploration is available at