Get Your Messages On NASA's Pluto-Bound Spacecraft

Message Spacecraft ? Tarter

A group of renowned scientists, engineers, artists and others need your help to send a message into the universe aboard a spacecraft bound for Pluto.

NASA's New Horizons mission — launched toward Pluto in 2006 — should be carrying a self-portrait of humanity when it flies into interstellar space in about 30 years, according to SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute co-founder Jill Tarter, Jon Lomberg, the design director of the golden record containing sounds and images from cultures on Earth flying with the Voyager spacecraft, and other researchers.

To that end, the diverse group of space fans have created a petition — called the New Horizons Message Initiative — asking NASA officials to upload a yet-to-be-determined crowdsourced message from humanity onto the New Horizons craft after its encounter with the Pluto system. [13 Ways to Find Intelligent Alien Life]

"This website is an opportunity for anyone who is interested to sign a petition that asks NASA to approve the future use of the spacecraft," Tarter said. "We need formal permission from the agency and sub-support to make this happen."

The message initiative hinges upon using some of the spacecraft's memory to store messages from earthlings beamed up to the probe. The uploaded message could serve as a new, more candid kind of cosmic note from earthlings, Tarter said.

The golden record onboard NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft is carrying "the most rosy picture of humanity out there for the cosmos to discover," Tarter said here at the 100 Year Starship symposium ( via ).

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