Monday, July 18, 2016

There's A Crowdfunded Plan To Send Our Genetic Blueprint Into Space Using Lasers

21st century headlines.


Kickstarter Project Aims to 'Back Up Humanity' in Cosmic Cloud 
All of the books ever written, the genetic blueprint for human life and much of the other information that defines us as a species could soon be riding laser beams toward faraway exoplanets.

A new project called "Voices of Humanity" aims to send all of this stuff and more out into the "cosmic cloud," just in case something terrible happens to us here on Earth.

"We sometimes use the phrase, 'We want to back up humanity,' which is not a joke — we want to do this," project co-founder Philip Lubin, a physics professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told [Gallery: Visions of Interstellar Starship Travel]

This isn't Lubin's first space-laser rodeo; he's also a key player in Breakthrough Starshot, a $100 million initiative that aims to develop the ability to laser-launch tiny, sail-equipped "wafercraft" to Alpha Centauri and other extrasolar systems.

Lubin has also received two rounds of funding from the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program to develop this laser propulsion technology.

Voices of Humanity is a different but related effort, and one that doesn't have solid financial backing yet. Indeed, Lubin, co-founder Travis Brashears (a physics undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley) and their colleagues are looking to the masses for funding, via a Kickstarter campaign that launched today (July 18).

The Voices of Humanity team initially hopes to raise $30,000. This money will be used to launch a "humanity chip" full of images and other data provided by Kickstarter contributors to low-Earth orbit, likely in mid-2017, project team members said.

If the Kickstarter campaign hits its $100,000 "stretch goal," the researchers will build a ground-based laser system that will beam digitally encoded information directly to the objects of campaign contributors' choice — stars or exoplanets, for example, or even (for particularly dark thoughts) the supermassive black hole at the Milky Way's core....MORE
Here's the Kickstarter page.