The Planetary Society of Japan (TPS/J) in cooperation with The Planetary
Society, will mount a worldwide public outreach program to land one million
names on an asteroid with Japan’s MUSES-C mission. Entitled "Let’s fly to meet
your star prince," the program will enhance public interest in MUSES-C, the
world’s first sample return mission to an asteroid.

"Star Prince" refers to the title character in Saint-Exupery’s famous story,
"The Little Prince." The Little Prince makes his home on an asteroid.

Japan’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, ISAS, will launch
the MUSES-C spacecraft in November-December this year. TPS/J will collect names
to send aboard the spacecraft from May 10 through July 6, 2002.

"The Planetary Society maintains close ties with The Planetary Society of Japan
and strongly supports the effort to involve the public in the MUSES-C Mission,"
said Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society.

MUSES stands for a series of missions performed by the Space Engineering
Spacecraft launched by MU rocket. "C" means the third mission of this series.
ISAS, the space agency responsible for Japanese robotic exploration of the solar
system, successfully flew names of 270,000 people aboard "NOZOMI," which means
hope, to Mars in July 1998.

The TPS/J program seeks to send names of at least one million people from around
the world aboard the spacecraft to land on the surface of the asteroid. The
names will be etched on an aluminum foil sheet enveloped inside a target marker,
a softball-sized artificial ball. The target marker will be released onto the
asteroid surface as a guiding landmark, enabling the spacecraft to touch down on
sample-collecting sites safely and correctly.

The MUSES-C mission will land on Asteroid 1998SF36, which is about 700m x 300m
in size and orbits at an averaged distance of 0.9AU from Earth.

TPS/J is the first international affiliate of The Planetary Society. Since its
inauguration, TPS/J has been engaged in various public outreach activities
through its website, publications and participation in planetary-related events
in an effort to enhance public interest in exploring our solar system and search
for extraterrestrial intelligence, SETI.

To join the campaign on the Internet, visit for details. If you have any
questions, fax TPS/J at 011-81-3-5280-2500.