Artistic space odyssey to broadcast people's messages to the stars

February 8, 2016
Messages from the earth will be beamed to the stars. Credit: Paul Quast

Messages from around the world are to be beamed into space at the speed of light as part of a cultural project to create a celestial time capsule.

In autumn 2016, dispatches from the public will be converted into and broadcasted towards the North Star, Polaris, this autumn, reaching their destination in 434 years.

The interstellar message in a bottle will comprise of people's responses to a single question: how will our present environmental interactions shape the future?

A Simple Response to an Elemental Message is a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh, the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh, and the UK Astronomical Technology Centre (UKATC) along with other partners.

Within 21 hours of transmission, the signal will have travelled deeper into space than mankind's first message to the stars, Voyager 1, which was launched in 1977.

Project Coordinator Paul Quast said Polaris was chosen as the destination because of its cultural significance as a reference point for navigators and star gazers.

Researchers will be able to use the responses to gauge if there are significant geographical differences in how people think about the environment and the future of the planet.

Edinburgh College of Art postgraduate student Mr Quast said: "We are at a pivotal point in this planet's history. Our present ecological decisions will have a massive impact on the future for all Earth's inhabitants. This project will create a culturally-inspired message in a bottle capturing global perspectives that will travel into space for eons."

The public are invited to visit the official website, http://www.asimpleresponse.org, and leave their contributions to be broadcast into the cosmos.

The website is available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. German, Arabic, Russian and Mandarin will be available soon.

Explore further: UK marine researchers receive 'oldest message in a bottle'

Related Stories

Follow a live planet hunt—Pale Red Dot campaign launched

January 15, 2016

A unique outreach campaign has been launched that will allow the general public to follow scientists from around the globe as they search for an Earth-like exoplanet around the closest star to us, Proxima Centauri. The observing ...

Globular clusters could host interstellar civilizations

January 6, 2016

Globular star clusters are extraordinary in almost every way. They're densely packed, holding a million stars in a ball only about 100 light-years across on average. They're old, dating back almost to the birth of the Milky ...

Is calling E.T. a smart move?

January 29, 2010

In 2008, NASA beamed the Beatles song "Across the Universe" into deep space, sending a message of peace to any extraterrestrial who happens to be in the region of Polaris, also called the North Star, in 2439.

Astronomers clash over the distance to the famed North Star

November 30, 2012

(Phys.org)—The North Star (Polaris) has played an important role in human history, yet knowledge of its fundamental parameters is unsatisfactory. That problem is attributable in large part to uncertainties tied to the star's ...

Recommended for you

Dark matter may be smoother than expected

December 7, 2016

Analysis of a giant new galaxy survey, made with ESO's VLT Survey Telescope in Chile, suggests that dark matter may be less dense and more smoothly distributed throughout space than previously thought. An international team ...

Giant radio flare of Cygnus X-3 detected by astronomers

December 7, 2016

(Phys.org)—Russian astronomers have recently observed a giant radio flare from a strong X-ray binary source known as Cygnus X-3 (Cyg X-3 for short). The flare occurred after more than five years of quiescence of this source. ...

Saturn's bulging core implies moons younger than thought

December 7, 2016

Freshly harvested data from NASA's Cassini mission reveals that Saturn's bulging core and twisting gravitational forces offer clues to the ages of the planet's moons. Astronomers now believe that the ringed planet's moons ...

Cassini transmits first images from new orbit

December 7, 2016

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has sent to Earth its first views of Saturn's atmosphere since beginning the latest phase of its mission. The new images show scenes from high above Saturn's northern hemisphere, including the planet's ...

New evidence for a warmer and wetter early Mars

December 7, 2016

A recent study from ESA's Mars Express and NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provides new evidence for a warm young Mars that hosted water across a geologically long timescale, rather than in short episodic bursts ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.