It’s a (reasonably) safe bet to assume that we'll see manned missions to Mars in this lifetime. And as exciting as that sounds, we're still figuring out all the details. NASA is working on a detailed plan that will have humans on the red planet by 2030, but private companies, like Elon Musk's SpaceX, might get us there even sooner. Now, a group of students want to greet the first Mars human colonists with a time capsule by collecting photos, videos, audio clips, and messages to send to the planet as early as 2017.
This "Time Capsule for Mars" project is led by a group of university students. The plan is to put out a worldwide call to over 10 million people to send in their voice messages, photos, video clips, and text to go into three small Cubesats. The Cubesats will be launched towards Mars via an ion electrospray propulsion system created by MIT’s Space Propulsion Lab. The students hope to develop new technologies for the mission, including inflatable antennae and radiation sensors.
The students already have the support of some heavy hitters, like astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Charlie Precourt and Kent Rominger, who all act as project advisors. The students are also receiving aid from NASA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Explore Mars. Although the mission is expected to cost about $25 million, the students hope to raise funds through crowdfunding: they’ll charge $.99 for each upload in the developed world, with third-party countries getting free uploads, paid for by project sponsorships. The idea is for everyone to have the opportunity to send their messages to Mars. Donations will also be accepted on the project's website.
Via The Verge