Endorsement Letter

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is currently about 3 billion miles/ 5 billion km. from Earth, en route to a historic encounter to reconnoiter Pluto and its moons—worlds that will in 2015 become the farthest-ever frontier of human exploration. Eventually, New Horizons will become the fifth spacecraft to leave the solar system, following Pioneers 10 and 11 and Voyagers 1 and 2 on an endless voyage through interstellar space. Each of our first four interstellar probes carries a message from the people of Earth to any extraterrestrial who might someday encounter them. New Horizons carries no such message… but it’s not too late to add one!

We, endorsers of the grass roots New Horizons Message Initiative, hope to persuade NASA to upload an interstellar message to the spacecraft’s memory, following a successful Pluto encounter. The undersigned are observatory directors, scientists from other NASA missions, leading astronomers, spacecraft engineers, teachers, science communicators, artists and other interested people. We believe that this proposal is scientifically sound, technically feasible, and socially beneficial. We should do it.

A self-portrait of Planet Earth, made by its people in the second decade of the 21st Century

This new concept for an interstellar message came from artist Jon Lomberg, possibly Earth’s most experienced creator of space message artifacts. As Carl Sagan’s most frequent artistic collaborator, Jon served as Design Director for the iconic Voyager Golden Records, which contain a stunning array of sights and sounds of our home world. The Voyager spacecraft have left the solar system behind, carrying their message into interstellar space. Now Lomberg and we, his collaborators, propose creating a new self-portrait of humanity.

A digital “Voyager Record 2.0”, a message in the memory of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft

For the New Horizons Message Initiative, Jon has assembled a varied team of expert advisers to help craft this latest venture in interstellar communication. But unlike the Pioneer and Voyager messages, which were created by small, select teams, the New Horizon Message Initiative will invite the participation of all interested parties across our small but special world. Using new techniques of crowd-sourcing, the content of the message will be shaped by scientists, artists, writers, and ordinary people who share an interest in this unique and important enterprise.

As scientists, academics, and interested parties working in other fields, we believe that this message is an inspiring idea that offers opportunities for public engagement and the stimulation of interest in science, engineering and exploration by a new generation.

We are not requesting any specific funds from NASA to manage and design this complex project. Its initial success depends on our persuading NASA to approve this initiative, and then, on the financial support of private individuals and organizations. This is not simply a message from Earth, but even more importantly, a message to Earth. The very act of creating the message brings together people from many places, different walks of life, and different perspectives. The final product could be a unique affirmation of the future that everyone on this planet can take pride in. It may even serve to help unify our small and troubled world.

We, the undersigned, enthusiastically endorse the New Horizons Message Initiative, and we urge all interested people and organizations to join us requesting that NASA take this opportunity to approve our creation of a bold and inspiring message from humanity and place it onboard the spacecraft once it has safely and successfully passed Pluto.

ENDORSING SPACE SCIENCE ADVISORS – USA

JIM BELL
LEAD SCIENTIST, PANCAM IMAGING SYSTEM
MARS EXPLORATION ROVERS
PRESIDENT, THE PLANETARY SOCIETY
GREGORY BENFORD
PHYSICIST, WOODROW WILSON FELLOW
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE
JAMES BENFORD
PRESIDENT, MICROWAVE SCIENCES
DAVID BRIN
AUTHOR, SCIENTIST
MICHAEL BUSCH
RESEARCH SCIENTIST, SETI INSTITUTE
JANSKY FELLOW, NRAO
JASON DUNN
CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER
MADE IN SPACE, INC.
LOLLIE GARAY
SCIENCE TEACHER
NASA MESSENGER MISSION
POLARTREC TEACHER
PAUL GILSTER
SPACE TECHNOLOGY WRITER
EDITOR, CENTAURI DREAMS
DAVID GRINSPOON
CHAIR OF ASTROBIOLOGY
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
GEOFF HAINES-STILES
SCIENCE TV PRODUCER
COSMOS, PASSPORT TO PLUTO
IVAN LINSCOTT
PHYSICIST, STANFORD UNIVERSITY
MARS ODYSSEY and MARS POLAR LANDER
FELIX J. LOCKMAN
PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST
NATIONAL RADIO ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORY
JEFFREY NOSANOV
NASA INNOVATIVE ADVANCED CONCEPTS FELLOW
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
DERRICK PITTS
CHIEF ASTRONOMER AND PLANETARIUM DIRECTOR
FRANKLIN INSTITUTE, PHILADELPHIA
WILLIE ROBINSON
SPACE SCIENCE EDUCATOR
ROSELLE, NEW JERSEY
H. PAUL SHUCH
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR EMERITUS
THE SETI LEAGUE, INC
DOUG SIMONS
DIRECTOR, CANADA-FRANCE-HAWAII TELESCOPE
MAUNA KEA, HAWAII
WOODRUFF T. SULLIVAN III
ASTRONOMER, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON
JILL TARTER
BERNARD OLIVER CHAIR FOR SETI,
SETI INSTITUTE
NANCY TASHIMA
DIRECTOR, ASTRONAUT ELLISON ONIZUKA SPACE CENTER
MARK WASHBURN
SCIENCE WRITER AND NOVELIST

 

ENDORSING SPACE SCIENCE ADVISORS – WORLD

CHRISTOPHER AÑORVE
FACULTAD DE CIENCIAS DE LA TIERRA Y DEL ESPACIO, UNIVERSIDAD AUTÓNOMA DE SINALOA, MEXICO
ADAM CROWL
PROPULSION ENGINEER
AUSTRALIA
PAUL CURNOW
OUTREACH AND CULTURAL ASTRONOMER
ADELAIDE PLANETARIUM, AUSTRALIA
WILSON DA SILVA
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, COSMOS MAGAZINE
AUSTRALIA
STEPHANE DUMAS
PHYSICIST
CANADA
BRYAN GAENSLER
NASA HUBBLE FELLOW
UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
MICHAEL A. GARRETT
DIRECTOR, NETHERLANDS INSTITUTE FOR RADIO ASTRONOMY
NETHERLANDS
NALAKA GUNAWARDENE
SCIENCE WRITER, BROADCASTER, COLUMNIST
SRI LANKA
NIKOLAI S. KARDASHEV
PHYSICIST/ACADEMICIAN
RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
RUSSIA
KAORU KIMURA
TOKYO SCIENCE MUSEUM
JAPAN
GUILLERMO LEMARCHAND
DIRECTOR, SOUTH AMERICAN SETI PROGRAM
ARGENTINA
KELVIN LONG
CHIEF EDITOR, JOURNAL OF THE BRITISH INTERPLANETARY SOCIETY
UNITED KINGDOM
DAVID MALIN
AUSTRALIAN ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORY
AUSTRALIA
DAVID MARTINEZ-DELGADO
PROJECT LEADER, TIDAL STAR STREAM SURVEY
ZENTRUM FÜR ASTRONOMIE, UNIVERSITÄT DER HEIDELBERG
GERMANY
IAN MCLENNAN
DESIGN CONSULTANT
CANADA
BOB MCDONALD
HOST, QUIRKS AND QUARKS
CBC, TORONTO, CANADA
TIBOR PACHER
PHYSICIST, FOUNDER, FACES FROM EARTH and TEAM PULI SPACE
GLXP CONTESTANT
HUNGARY
PETER POULSEN
DEVELOPMENT ECONOMIST
KINGDOM OF TONGA
PEKKA RAUTAJOKI
TAMPERE OBSERVATORY
FINLAND
ANDRES ELOY MARTINEZ ROJAS
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE, MEXICAN CONGRESS
MEXICO
EDUARDO RUBIO-HERARA
ASTRONOMER
UNIVERSIDAD DE SAN CARLOS DE GUATEMALA
IVO SAVIANE
MANAGER, LA SILLA OBSERVATORY
CHILE
EMILIANO TERÁN-BOBADILLA
FACULTAD DE CIENCIAS FÍSICO-MATEMÁTICAS
UNIVERSIDAD AUTÓNOMA DE SINALOA, MEXICO
ŁUKASZ A. TURSKI
CENTER FOR THEORETICAL PHYSICS
POLISH ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
WARSAW, POLAND
PHIL YOCK
DIRECTOR, MICROLENSING OPPORTUNITIES IN ASTRONOMY
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

 

ENDORSERS – USA

ERNA AKUGINOW
TV DOCUMENTARY PRODUCER
PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE
ATHENA ANDREADIS
SCIENTIST AND WRITER
LEVAR BURTON
ACTOR, DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, AUTHOR
TANE MOHAN DATTA
ORGANIC FARMER, ADAPTATIONS, INC.
MILES GILSTER
SOFTWARE DEVELOPER / WEB DESIGNER
TAU ZERO FOUNDATION
ICARUS INTERSTELLAR
KIMBERLY A. JAMESON
INSTITUTE FOR MATHEMATICAL
BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE
RYAN C. LAI
MUSICIAN, CRAFTSMAN
TERESA LARSEN
DATA VISUALIZATION ARTIST
FOUNDATION FOR SCIENTIFIC LITERACY
PAMELA LEE
SPACE ARTIST
SHARONA LOMBERG
ARTIST AND BUSINESS MANAGER
LORI MARINO
NEUROSCIENTIST, EMORY UNIVERSITY
DIRECTOR, KIMMELA CENTER FOR ANIMAL ADVOCACY
JEFFREY MORRIS
AEROSPACE ARTIST AND DESIGNER
LOUIS NARENS
DEPT. OF LOGIC AND PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE
ANNA SODARI
ARTIST / POET
DAVID TATEL
JUDGE, U.S. COURT OF APPEALS
TONY T. TSCHOPP
GOOD TURN WEB DESIGN
YUAN WANG
MARINE BIOLOGIST
HUIMIN QIN WARBUS
BUSINESS CONSULTANT
LEILEHUA YUEN
CULTURAL PRACTITIONER

 

ENDORSERS – WORLD

CAROLYN BARNETT
FIBRE ARTIST
CANADA
SIMON BELL
PHOTOGRAPHER
CANADA
CARINA BÖHM
WRITER
GERMANY
DENISE BRITO
GENETICIST
MOZAMBIQUE
DANIELA DE PAULIS
TECHNOLOGY ARTIST
ITALY / NETHERLANDS
BOB DERKACH
MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER
CANADA
MIGUEL GONÇALVES
SCIENCE COMMUNICATOR
PORTUGAL
CORNELIUS HOLTORF
ARCHAEOLOGIST, LINNAEUS UNIVERSITY
SWEDEN
PENNEY KOME
AWARD-WINNING JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR
CANADA
REVITAL MAROM
BUSINESS CONSULTANT
FRANCE
ETIENNE MARTINACHE
SENIOR ENGINEER (MARINE PROPULSION)
FRANCE
CONRAD STEENKAMP
AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR
REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
TATIANA STOMAKHINA
PHILOSOPHY STUDENT
ESTONIA
ENDAWOKE YIZENGAW
GEOPHYSICIST, BOSTON COLLEGE
ETHIOPIA