The man responsible for the "golden record" on Voyager now wants to beam crowdsourced data to the New Horizons probe to take with it as it leaves the solar system.
Currently, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is speeding toward a history making flyby of Pluto, the dwarf planet located in the outermost region of the solar system. After it makes its closest approach on July 14, it will then head out beyond the farthest reaches of our solar system into interstellar space.
If the project called One Earth Message gets off the ground, the probe may take with it uploaded data from Earth with the hope that the message is found one day by alien life.
The project is being spearheaded by Jon Lomberg, who served as Carl Sagan's chief artist on the original "Cosmos" TV series. He was also the design director for the Voyage Record Project, designing a series of photos and diagrams that profiled Earth and was designed for aliens not familiar with our little blue planet.
The One Earth Message project has a similar idea to the Voyage project. Only this time instead of copper disks, the information would be digital and could be simply beamed through space to New Horizons before it leaves our solar system. This time, instead of a committee choosing what to send, the information would be gathered via a website.
"It's not simply a photo contest," Lomberg says. "It's a process that's going to find out what people want to send." He also mentioned that the group would be able to send about 150MB of data -- which is actually about the same that's on each golden record. That amounts to about 100 photos and an hour of audio, Lomberg said.
To make this happen, the project must run a fund-raising campaign seeking to raise $500,000 to build a crowdsourcing site and "develop new techniques to program a message designed to be recognized, decoded and understood by beings in the far future," according to the campaign page.
Lomberg said that NASA hasn't yet given official approval for the project but he did note that they responded enthusiastically to a petition of over 10,000 signatures, encouraging him to continue with the project.
Pledges to the campaign range from $5 and up and include the chance of having your name uploaded to New Horizons. The campaign still has two more months to go and has currently raised about $13,000 since it began.