SMS across the universe

John C. Tanner
18 Aug 2009

SMS has gone interstellar. Literally.

From now until August 24, in honor of National Science Week in Australia, is collecting goodwill messages to be sent to the nearest Earth-like planet outside our solar system likely to support life.

The planet – Gliese 581d – is eight times the size of Earth and some 20 light years away (194 trillion km). It was first discovered in April 2007. Due to its size, it is classified as a 'Super Earth'.

Those of you who have something to say to whoever might be living on Gliese 581d can submit your message – which must be less than 160 characters long – to the web site. The messages will be broadcast via the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla in cooperation with NASA.

The web site has been publishing the messages collected so far – and let’s just say that, for the most part, Earthlings probably won’t be making the greatest of first impressions when the messages arrive at on Gliese 581d in December 2029.

Still, there are some good ones. My personal favorite:

"Dear Alien, to unsubscribe from planet Earth SPAM please respond with *UNSUBSCRIBE*. Thank You."

Well done, David of Melbourne. Cheeky Earthling.

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