The space probe New Horizons is set to flyby the planetesque Pluto on July 14, breaking out of the Solar System, and NASA is planning on sending something along with it: Your pictures.
NASA is putting together a crowdsourced message that will be digitally beamed to New Horizons. Its goals are similar to the historic "Golden Records" sent along the twin Voyager spacecraft back in 1977.
Dubbed “Earth One Message,” the project will contain “an hour of audio” and hundreds of photographs, sort of a tl;dr of life on Earth.
The kicker of Earth One Message: it's crowdsourced, both in its uploads and its funding. Jon Lomberg, the head of the project, says NASA is not financially supporting it so his team hopes to raise $500,000. The budget "to do everything" they want to do works out to a "couple million." To raise cash, they'll run a Fiat Physica fundraising campaign until July 15.
Anyone can send NASA a few photos for free; more will cost a fee that will go to maintain the campaign's website. While it would be tempting to troll NASA with your drunken Instagram selfies, consider what you're broadcasting to the cosmos. The Golden Records and the new Earth One Message are representing all of Earth to any alien species who happen upon 'em. Long after the sun burns out the Earth, these troopers will just keep bobbing in the void.
Jon Lomberg also assembled the Golden Records currently aboard the twin Voyager spacecraft. Even now, they serve as a message of peace and a symbol for mankind's stubborn determination to journey across the stars, or at least to give a blind shout-out to the furthest reaches of existence.
If NASA approves of the project — the agency has voiced support but have yet to officially green-light it — Lomberg and his team will be allowed to send a whopping 150 megabytes of data to New Horizon. While that's less than a thumb drive keychain, it is about the same amount of information on Voyager's records. Lomberg said the message will be more of a "haiku, not a novel."
As of this writing, about $12,000 of the $500,000 have been raised. A long way to go, yes, but not nearly so far off as the furthest reaches of the universe.
On behalf of Inverse, I nominate this piece of musical art for inclusion on this interstellar yawp, to symbolize mankind's admirable if futile effort to reach new life and totally serenade the pants off it: