“This will be a message from and to the Earth,” said Jon Lomberg, project director. “The very act of creating it will be a powerful reminder that we all share the same, small planet.
We truly are one Earth.”
FAQs about the One Earth New Horizons Message
Please see frequently asked questions listed below and for more information please contact us here.
NASA is currently reviewing the project with great interest. NASA has said that it is pleased to participate in the effort and the New Horizons mission has agreed to upload it.
Artist Jon Lomberg, Design Director for the famous Voyager Golden Record, had the original idea which he has developed with the assistance of an international Advisory Board and the New Horizons mission.
The One Earth Message Foundation is the lead organization for the financing, creation, and development of the Message. Jon Lomberg is Project Director and works closely with the Advisory Board. The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at the University of California San Diego is the academic base of the project, for the research, design, construction, and operation of the project website where content submissions will be entered and judged. This process will be led by Dr. Albert Yu-Min Lin, a world leader in the growing field of crowd-sourced science.
We are inviting corporate, foundation, and individual donations. We also will have a Kickstarter online fundraising campaign to raise the funds we think the project will need over the next three years. The Clarke Center and the National Geographic Society have each generously provided some of the seed money to get us this far.
There is a lot of experimentation needed to develop the techniques of storing and sending the message. We need to inform people worldwide, translate materials, and provide travel for key people to work together. We need to design and support an extensive online presence to spread word of our worldwide invitation to select the message contents. Then we will need to receive, archive, judge, and assemble the millions of submissions. We need to form educational outreach programs for schools to develop STEM-based opportunities that will inspire and motivate students--- how often will they get a chance to record a message for the Universe? We are working closely with education and outreach people already associated with the New Horizons mission, but we do not have access to any NASA mission or government funds to support our involvement, so we must raise it all ourselves.
View our petition to NASA, Advisory Board, and more at www.newhorizonsmessage.com
Based on bandwidth and New Horizons onboard computers, we think we could send pictures and sounds as we did on the Voyager Record and perhaps new kinds of files as well, such as software, 3D files and whatever other good ideas the world’s creative minds can suggest. Our technical team will research the many issues involved and determine the possible form and contents. The challenge will be to create the richest and most durable message possible that is also as easy as possible for hypothetical ETs to decode. As to the contents of the message... read on!
The whole world. Our goal is to hold a worldwide search for the specific pictures and other materials to send. Finalists will be selected by online voting in various categories of content. The resulting message will have been crowd-sourced from people around the world, creating a self-portrait of Earth in the second decade of the 21st Century.
Not yet. We already have over 140 nations petition signers on our petition to NASA and we expect to translate our documents into as many languages as possible.
It’s impossible to represent every nation, language, culture, profession, and lifestyle. Our motto must be: the people at the table must also represent the people not at the table.
We must try to represent them too.
There is no room on the computer memory for our message until all the data from the Pluto encounter have been downloaded. That could take an entire year, so we probably will not upload until some time in 2016.
One of the novel features of this digital message format is that it can be updated. Unlike the Voyager Records or Pioneer plaques which are beyond human reach after they are launched, the NH message can be enlarged or corrected so long as the spacecraft is in communication with Earth, perhaps for several decades. So the message could be improved and updated to reflect events on Earth during the post-Pluto phase of the mission. “Energy crisis solved” “World poverty ended” – That sort of good news!
Tens of thousands of years, but it is not pointed at any nearby stars. It will cruise through space forever—or until somebody finds it.
The spacecraft is heading in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius, toward the center of our Milky Way Galaxy.
Unlike the radio messages discussed in SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) this message is inside the computer, so it travels only at the speed of the spacecraft, taking tens of thousands of years to get far enough from Earth that our planet would not be easy to detect anyway. The message is sent to the spacecraft on the normal radio link that connects Earth to all NASA spacecraft, so represents no increase of the risk of detection over what it is anyway.
This is a message to Earth as well as a message to ETs. For 40 years people have been inspired by the symbolism of making the Voyager Record, of describing ourselves to a hypothetical cosmic audience. Carl Sagan and Frank Drake brilliantly led a small team to make that message. Now, thanks to the WWW, we can invite millions of Earthlings to join together to speak for Earth. The act of creating the message has great educational, cultural and even spiritual value, whether the message is ever found by other beings or not.
Visit our website and sign up to participate www.OneEarthMessage.org Tell your friends and colleagues about it. Make a donation—we are grateful for every contribution no matter how small. Learn about our submission contest and participate in it.
You do, if you want to.
Please see your latest submissions below. Hover over words to see entry count.
Please see the latest blog posts below
We are One Earth: New Horizons Message Project and we are going to send a message to the stars aboard NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft following its July, 2015 encounter with Pluto. New Horizons will become the fifth human-made object to leave the solar system, and like the four spacecraft it follows, it will carry a specially crafted message from Earth designed to be understood by any extraterrestrial lifeform that may someday come upon our vessels of discovery.
Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? But, you might well ask, just who are we and why do we presume to speak for Earth? For that matter, why even send such a message, given the overwhelming odds against its ever being received? Space is vast, and even if the galaxy is teeming with intelligent, spacefaring civilizations – which it might very well be, given what we have lately learned about the ubiquity of exoplanets – our tiny spacecraft are unlikely ever to encounter ET. So why do it?
To paraphrase Jefferson, a decent respect for the opinions of humankind requires us to explain ourselves. That, in essence, is the purpose of this blog entry, and of all the entries yet to come.
First, who are we? The New Horizons Message Project began with about eighty people recruited worldwide to a Board of Advisors by Project Director Jon Lomberg, who came up with the idea in the summer of 2013. I’ll have more to say about Jon in future entries, but for now, what you need to know is that he is an Emmy Award-winning internationally renowned astronomical artist. He became famous for his many collaborations with Carl Sagan, including the original Cosmos series and the creation of the iconic Voyager Interstellar Record. He served as Design Director for the Record, and originally conceived the New Horizons Message as a sort of Voyager Record 2.0. The world is much changed since the 1977 launch of the two Voyager spacecraft – now leaving the solar system behind as they enter interstellar space – and Jon thought it was time for a twenty-first century message.
The Voyager Record was created by a small, select team, working quickly and in private to meet the Voyager launch deadline. The Record contains some 188 pictures, 27 musical selections, and the voices of whales, humans, and other citizens of our planet.
But for the New Horizons Message, Jon has opened up the process to include us all. The Message will be created by everyone who submits a picture or song or idea, and everyone who votes on those submissions. Given that our online petition urging NASA to send the Message attracted more than 10,000 signatures from 140-plus countries, we expect global participation in the creation of the Message. There should be thousands, if not millions, of people out there who will be eager to get involved. What sort of twenty-first century “selfie” of the Earth they will craft is anyone’s guess; it’s going to be fascinating to find out.
Keeping track of all those submissions will require the use of crowd-sourcing, or “consensus science” (a science so new that it doesn’t even have an agreed-upon name yet). Fortunately, one of the people Jon recruited to the Project is Dr. Albert Yu-Min Lin at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), whose groundbreaking work in this area led to the discovery of the long-lost tombs of Mongol kings like Genghis Khan. I’ll have more to say about Dr. Lin later, but for now, just know that the skills and experience that found old Genghis are now being applied to the Message Project.
Dr. Lin is just one of many scientists who populate the Advisory Board – we have astrophysicists, astrobiologists, SETI researchers, marine biologists, and more. But we also boast a worldwide collection of artists, writers, musicians, educators, journalists, a US Federal judge, and the actor LeVar Burton, whose famous, smiling face graced the home page of our petition web site (“This is cool…I just signed!”). I’m convinced that a healthy percentage of the petition’s signatures came from LeVar’s legion of loyal fans. Thanks, LeVar!
The Message Project is now part of the actual New Horizons Missions, so “we” are also the many men and women at the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University, and elsewhere, who are actually making this thing happen. The Mission’s Principal Investigator, Dr. Alan Stern, came onboard almost as soon as Jon proposed the project to him. With Alan’s strategic support, we eventually persuaded NASA to give the idea serious consideration. NASA did, and expressed its support for the project in late January, 2014, barely five months after Jon came up with the idea.
In the months following we established an academic base for the project at the Arthur C Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UCSD.And we have received support from the National Geographic Society who will make an excellent partner.As for your Faithful Blogger, I was a science writer for many years and wrote books about the Viking Mission to Mars and the Voyager mission to the outer solar system. Like Jon, I was fortunate enough to work on a few projects with Carl Sagan, back in the eighties. I met Jon on Mars. He slept on my couch during part of the Viking Mission, and I slept on his couch during part of the Voyager Mission. We’re old shipmates.
Jon drafted me to be on his Message executive committee before I even knew he had one. It has been, as we used to say, a trip –a chance to be involved in something worthwhile and meaningful, one more time. This project has been the biggest and most welcome surprise of my life.
So, this is who we are. But why are we doing this? There are as many answers to that question as there are people involved, but I think the best answer may be the simplest. We are doing this because we can. We have reached a point in history when such things are possible, and it would represent a failure of human imagination and will if we refrained from making the attempt. We are doing it because it is a quintessentially human gesture, a part of who we are – we are waving hello to our neighbors in the galaxy.
In blogs to come, I’ll be writing about the Message Project itself, as well as the Mission, the scientists and their spacecraft, Pluto and its retinue of moons, planetary science in general, and it is possible that at some point I may mention the Boston Red Sox. Much more to say, but for now, there is just one more thing you need to know about the Project.
This is going to be fun.
Anyone and everyone is invited to take part in One Earth: New Horizons Message. To keep up to date on all aspects of the project as it evolves, please provide your name and email address in the space provided below.
To get things started, we want to hear from you! Let us know in one word what aspect of life on earth you think should be included in a message to the universe.