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HELLO FROM EARTH: Case Study of a Runaway Success

19 June 2024 at 3:35:00 am

T20 Talk

15 min


Australia’s first interstellar message was sent 15 years ago – and it was a science communication exercise. In August 2009, 26,000 messages were transmitted by NASA to Gliese 581d, an Earth-like planet 20.4 light-years way. HELLO FROM EARTH was designed to boost awareness for National Science Week. And it was a howling success: over 10 days, 1,000+ newspapers wrote about it, and messages came from 199 nations. But NASA was strict about what was allowed: no profanity, racism, personal attacks, or even ribald humour. Messages gave an insight into how people see themselves and our place in the universe. They ranged from earnest calls for interstellar friendship to good humour or banal puns. There were classes of primary school students asking for alien visits, and some took it seriously enough to send Fibonacci sequences. This presentation will tell the story behind the project, and how you go about organising such a mammoth science communication endeavour.


Mr Wilson da Silva

Relevance to conference themes


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