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An extraterrestrial message to connect the inhabitants of Earth

EFEFUTURO.- Sending messages into space is nothing new for NASA, which included discs bearing images and sounds from Earth on the two Voyager probes launched in 1977, but now the U.S. space agency is preparing to dispatch new data that reflect the ways the world has changed in the last four decades.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

The 1977 project was the work of a small group, including U.S. astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan (1934-1996) and his principal artistic collaborator, space artist and science journalist Jon Lomberg, who is involved in the current initiative.

The new effort, “One Earth Message,” aims to create an updated digital depiction of Earth based on submissions from around the globe and to upload that content to NASA’s New Horizons probe, now traveling beyond Pluto, Lomberg told EFE between speaking engagements in Madrid.

The plan calls for giving would-be contributors three years to send images, sounds, or any other material in digital format to form the great mosaic that will be transmitted to New Horizons in 2019.

The final content will be decided by vote of the public.
“This is a unique opportunity for people around the world to contribute in the elaboration of an interstellar message,” Lomberg said.

He said that One Earth Message is directed at two audiences: hypothetical extraterrestrials and the people of Earth, who will have access to all the information compiled via a Web site.

Another goal of the project is encouraging contact among the inhabitants of the Earth, he said.

“Earth has many problems and any initiative that brings people together is very important,” Lomberg said. “The world is not the same. It’s time for us to send a new message on the state of the planet.” EFEfuturo
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