Energy

Crowdfunding Campaign Wants To Send Genetic Information Into Space Using Lasers

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter

A crowdfunding campaign launched Monday wants to send genetic information, every book ever written and other information to distant planets using laser beams.

The campaign, launched on the website Kickstarter, has a basic funding goal of $30,000 and a stretch goal of $100,000. If the project reaches $30,000, it will launch the encoded information into orbit around Earth, but if it reaches the stretch goal, the project will build a ground-based laser and robotic telescope that can transmit the data via laser to deep space.

So far, the project has raised $1,501 and has 50 days to go. People who donate at least $1 will be able to send a tweet into space, while donors of $30 or more can send up to 30 megabytes of video.

Those who spend more than $79 can send their personal genetic sequence.

“We sometimes use the phrase, ‘We want to back up humanity,’ which is not a joke — we want to do this,” Philip Lubin, the project’s co-founder and a physics professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told Space.com.

The team behind the project claims that the laser-beaming system could be built within 12 months if the team reaches the $100,000 stretch funding goal.

The project is intended to be a space-based time capsule, preserving humanity and its culture in the event of catastrophe on Earth.

Cosmologist Stephen Hawking and other scientists announced a $100 million plan in April to create a similar small robotic probe capable of reaching Alpha Centauri, the star system closest to Earth, in just 20 years. They plan to build an extremely small craft, powered by a giant array of lasers, that will reach up to 20 percent the speed of light.

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