December 17, 2004
A DVD bearing 616,400 digitized signatures of people from nations around the world was attached to the Cassini spacecraft. The disk cover, designed by Cassini science and engineering manager Charley Kohlhase, shows the flags from 28 of the 81 nations whose citizens sent signatures for the chance to send their names into space. The flags, going clockwise from the American flag top center, are in order of the number of signatures collected, with the highest number from the United States.
The planet Saturn with its rings and its moon Titan and the Earth are also represented, as is the Cassini spacecraft and the Huygens probe. The feathers represent the Golden Eagle, whose feathers were used as quills for writing to spread wisdom. The bird is revered in mythology for carrying spirits above the Earth to the heavens.
Cassini is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Cassini mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.
For a high resolution image, click here.