This is what Australia’s COSMOS Magazine is letting anyone who’s interested do – from all over the world – in celebration of the country’s National Science Week. Their target: a planet called Gliese 581d, a so-called “super-Earth” orbiting a small red dwarf star just over 20 light-years away, in the constellation Libra.
Gliese 581d is eight times more massive than Earth, and is theoried to be covered by a planet-wide ocean. While scientists have no idea if there are any civilizations on Gliese – or any life at all for that matter – it is the most promising lead we have so far within a manageable distance.
At the speed of light the message will take just over 20 years to reach Gliese 581d. And even if there’s someone there to receive it, decode it, and send one back, it will be another 20+ years before we get it.
Gives new meaning to the term “snail mail”.
Anyway, check out their site and register to send your message! They will be collecting quips from site visitors over the next 6 days, and then take the text data and blast it into space towards Gliese 581d. Messages are short – 160 characters – and can range from hopeful to cute to silly (my personal choice….I sure hope humor is universal), but all are moderated before being included on the site. Don’t be left behind, send yours today!
More information about the project here:
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Thanks to Emily at The Planetary Society for her post about this very cool project. 🙂