The ESA is sending a 21st-century message in a bottle to Polaris

esa message to polaris 23879433  northern light on the silent field before sun rise
Just think of it as the 21st-century version of a message in a bottle. Rather than sending these thoughts out to sea, you’re sending them out to Polaris, otherwise known as the North Star, and a place where humans will (almost certainly) never go. So if there’s anything you need to get off your chest and send far, far away, this just may be your chance.

It’s all thanks to a new project spearheaded by the European Space Agency (ESA), which they’re calling “A Simple Response to an Elemental Message. As per the ESA’s blog, “a global message — a sort of interstellar time capsule — will be transmitted toward Polaris, the North Star, 434 light years away” sometime this fall. Also contributing to the project are the U.K. Astronomy Technology Centre, the University of Edinburgh, and researchers from John Hopkins University and the European Southern Observatory.

Anyone from around the world is welcome to add to the message that will ultimately be sent out to space. You have until September 16 to check out the project’s website, select your language, and choose “Contribute.” From there, you’ll be prompted to provide your response to the question: “How will our present environmental interactions shape the future?

So no, it’s not a total free for all, though you could probably spin your answer to suit your needs. The reason for the guidance, however, is that the ESA hopes to have individuals contribute “to ongoing dialogue concerning how our civilization collectively perceives its role within shaping the future of the environment …”

According to the ESA, “All submissions in response to this globally pertinent question will be transmitted into deep space via the Cebreros station to commence an interstellar, light-speed journey.” This, the agency says, will create “a culturally-inspired, ‘message in a bottle’ of global perspectives encoded within signals that will propagate into space for eons.”

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