Press Release

The Planetary Society’s Library for Mars Ready for Launch

By SpaceRef Editor
August 2, 2007
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The Planetary Society’s Library for Mars Ready for Launch

The Planetary Society’s silica-glass DVD is ready to launch to Mars on board Phoenix, NASA’s newest Scout mission led by Principal Investigator Peter Smith at the University of Arizona. Attached to the deck of the Phoenix lander, the DVD includes Visions of Mars, a collection of 19th and 20th century stories, essays and art inspired by the Red Planet, as well as the names of over a quarter million inhabitants of Earth.   The disk will appear in some of the calibration images that Phoenix sends back from the Martian surface.

“Since The Planetary Society’s disk should last for centuries on Mars, we hope astronauts at some future date will enjoy the visionary works we have sent in this first Martian library,” said Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society, who conceived the idea for Visions of Mars.  “These tales and images have inspired generations about the wonder of space, including many men and women who are now researchers and engineers in the space program.”

This first library on Mars contains materials that represent 20 nations and cultures.  Visions of Mars includes works by The Planetary Society’s co-founder Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Kim Stanley Robinson, Arthur C. Clarke, Percival Lowell and many more. Visit for more information and to view some of the images.

Phoenix will be the first lander to explore the Martian arctic, landing near 70 degrees north latitude. Designed to search for and study water ice, the spacecraft is a fixed lander with a suite of advanced instruments and a robotic arm that can dig up to half a meter into the soil.  The Phoenix team hopes to uncover clues in the icy soil of the Martian arctic about the history of near surface ice and the planet’s potential for habitability. 

The first possible launch date for Phoenix is August 4, 2007, with a landing slated for 2008.

This will be The Planetary Society’s second attempt to send Visions of Mars to its namesake planet.  It was originally created by the Society to launch aboard Russia’s Mars 96 spacecraft, which failed shortly after launch.  The library has been updated and risen from the ashes for its Phoenix flight.  It should be able to last at least 500 years on Mars, so there will be plenty of time for a future generation to discover and enjoy the works included on the DVD.

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.



For more information, contact Susan Lendroth by phone: (626) 793-5100 ext. 237, e-mail:


The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. Today, its international membership makes the non-governmental Planetary Society the largest space interest group in the world.  Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman founded The Planetary Society in 1980.


The Planetary Society

Visions of Mars

SpaceRef staff editor.