Attention Plutoites! ET Message Board Eyed

September 27th, 2013

A New Horizons Message Initiative is underway in the hopes of persuading NASA to upload a crowd-sourced message to the New Horizons probe that’s now outbound to Pluto.

Based on bandwidth and the spacecraft’s onboard computers, the intent is to send pictures and sounds as was done on the Voyager Record – but this time, upload content long distance to the New Horizons probe.

New kinds of files, such as software or games, 3D maps and globes, and whatever other good ideas the world’s creative minds can suggest may be considered in an Earth-wide competition.

A technical team is now researching the many issues involved in uploading messages, and to determine the possible form and contents of those messages.

ET decoding

The challenge will be to create the richest and most durable message possible. The messages must also be as easy as possible for any ETs out there that come across New Horizons to decode.

The aim of this now non-NASA initiative is to begin the contest exactly one year before New Horizons flies by Pluto on July 14, 2015.

When could a winning message be sent to the spacecraft?

There is no room on the computer memory for the message until all the data from the Pluto encounter have been downloaded. That could take an entire year, so any uploaded content may not occur until 2016.

For more information on the New Horizons Message Initiative – and to gauge their progress – go to:

By Leonard David