August 12, 2009

Website Offers Ability To Message Space

An Australian website is giving users the opportunity to send their messages into space.

People will be able to post messages no more than 160 characters to Gliese 581d, which is the nearest Earth-like planet outside the solar system that is likely to support life.  Users can do this from August 12 until August 24.

The website said that the expected delivery time and day is about 20 years from now, and there is no guarantee of a response.

"It's like a 'message in a bottle' cast out into the stars. What's interesting is not just whether there's anyone listening, but what the public will say to intelligent life on another planet," said project spokesperson Wilson da Silva.

"Hello From Earth is our way of showing that science can make the impossible possible. We have been to the moon and now, we can speak to the stars," he said in a statement.

Messages are being transmitted from the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, with close cooperation from NASA.  The space telegram is part of Australia's National Science Week, which celebrates the country's scientific achievements and creates awareness of the importance of science.

Science Minister Kim Carr entered the first message to launch the project.

"Hello from Australia on the planet we call Earth. These messages express our people's dreams for the future. We want to share those dreams with you," his message said.

"As a child I, like many Australians, stared up at the stars and wondered what was out there. Now science has allowed me to send a personal message that may answer that question," Carr said.

People can visit to post their own message.