NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has a message for aliens and anyone else listening, which will be transmitted when the aircraft exits the Earth’s solar system.
The digital message is only 100MB and is designed to last decades, according to the New Horizons Message Initiative (NHMI), which includes a message and the names of the first 10,000 humans that signed the NHMI petition. The money has been generated by a Kickstarter campaign and only uses non-NASA funding, with an estimated cost of $500,000 (£293,000).
It’s not uncommon for spacecraft leaving the Earth’s solar system to have some type of message to extraterrestrials, which is what Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11 and Voyager 1 and 2 also did.
The spacecraft is currently past Jupiter and recently woke up for the summer – heading towards Pluto. NASA hopes New Horizons will reach Pluto before the end of the year, with researchers currently tracking the spacecraft to refine its orbit and underwent instrument calibrations.
New Horizons was launched into space in 2006, with the ultimate goal of taking pictures of Pluto’s surface, and then will study the Kuiper Belt. The spacecraft has already traveled more than 3 billion miles and reaching Pluto is getting closer day-by-day – and is only the fifth probe to reach interplanetary space so far from the sun.
Thank you to VentureBeat for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of NASA