90,000 messages to Mars to be beamed to celebrate 50 years of exploring Mars

28 Nov 2014

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the launch of US space agency NASA’s Mariner 4 mission, the first probe sent to Mars, a space funding company is to send nearly 90,000 messages to the planet.

Known as the ‘Beam Me to Mars’ initiative established by Uwingu, the 88,798 messages won’t exactly be picked up by any Mars inhabitants, given the only objects on Mars aside from rocks and dust are mankind’s own probes.

Despite this, it hasn’t been difficult to find people more than willing to send their own messages to space, including a number of science celebrities, such as TV programme host Bill Nye ‘The Science Guy’, Star Trek actor George Takei and retired astronaut Chris Hadfield.

According to Uwingu, included in the messages to Mars are the logos of more than 25 space corporations and other organisations that have supported the project.

Delivering the messages to Mars is The Universal Space Network, which will be sending the messages at a rate of 1m bits per second. 

Other names on the list of senders are former NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver, Pulitzer-winning author and playwright Dava Sobel, and one of the few commercial astronauts, Richard Garriott de Cayeux.

When the messages are sent from Earth, it will take only 15 minutes for them to reach Mars. To record the event, copies of all the messages will also be delivered to NASA’s headquarters and the US Congress, both in Washington, DC, and the United Nations headquarters in New York.

In his message to Mars, Takei, with his husband Brad Takei, said, “The Enterprise was a vessel of peace, celebrating the diversity of our own species as well as that of other life forms in the galaxy. Ours was a message of peace. We still carry that message as we set forth on another leg of our journey to the stars. And if there are others out there listening, as we often said on-board the Enterprise, ‘May you live long and prosper’.”

Both quotation images via Uwingu

Mars image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic