This Fall, a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh, the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh, and the UK Astronomical Technology Centre (UKATC) will result in a celestial time capsule.
Dispatches from the public will be converted into radio waves and broadcasted towards the North Star, Polaris, but won’t reach their final destination for 434 years.
The interstellar “message in a bottle”, called A Simple Response to an Elemental Message, will include people’s responses to the question: how will our present environmental interactions shape the future?
Within 21 hours of transmission, the signal will have traveled deeper into space than Voyager 1, which launched in 1977.
Why send to Polaris? According to Paul Quast, project coordinator, the location was chosen because of its cultural significance as a reference point for navigators and star gazers.
Researchers will also use the responses to gauge if there are significant geographical differences in how people think about the environment and the future of the planet.
“We are at a pivotal point in this planet’s history. Our present ecological decisions will have a massive impact on the future for all Earth’s inhabitants. This project will create a culturally-inspired message in a bottle capturing global perspectives that will travel into space for eons,” said Quast.
The public is invited to contribute, too. If you want to send your own message to the stars, visit A Simple Response.