Ad/Graph Thesis – Emails and Execution

Last week, I explained what my concept is, and showed a sketch for what I envisioned the execution to look like. Upon sharing that work with the class, I've since been given some suggestions and returned to the drawing board, in an attempt to refine what this project may become.

As far as other ideas go, I've been thinking about slight variations of my original execution:


Isolating the Elements
A few students have suggested that I place greater emphasis on the discovery and rediscovery of the various things on display. One idea is to place these items in separate containers, possibly marked in binary or pictorial graphics. This would entice visitors to examine each element in its own regard, be it a texture, smell, image, sound, or written message. They might also be able to add their own contributions, although this might be logistically challenging.

A Human Element
I could create a secondary display that compliments the original space probe idea. The display could be a suggestion of a human, either in the form of a poster or a sculpture. Regardless, visitors would be encouraged to choose elements from the probe and place them on the human, in a collaborative attempt to create what we believe to be defining aspects of our humanity.

Sending Out the Message
This area is still a little rough, but whatever people deem valuable could be photographed, collectively donated and installed somewhere in the school, sent up in a small model rocket, or some other outlet. It becomes difficult, however, if I end up literally sending things up into the sky, because I've severely limited by what I can afford to lose and possibly break (e.g., I would never send up a $400 iPad). I've also been toying with the idea of transmitting this image into the sky using a laser and binary/morse code. Additionally, I've thought about utilizing a project like Lone Signal, a crowdfunded group that sends images and text messages into space for very little money. 

This aspect of the project is certainly the most challenging, because I want visitors to really feel convinced that their ideas are valued.

Sending out a curated selection of items in a rocket would be pretty cool, but is it safe? Photo Credit: Robotroom.com.

Sending out a curated selection of items in a rocket would be pretty cool, but is it safe? Photo Credit: Robotroom.com.

Imagine if every element on display was encased in its own capsule, complete with pictorial markings on it? Photo Credit: Dahou.com.

Imagine if every element on display was encased in its own capsule, complete with pictorial markings on it? Photo Credit: Dahou.com.

For just $0.99, you can send an image and three text messages deep into space! Photo Credit: Lone Signal.

For just $0.99, you can send an image and three text messages deep into space!
Photo Credit: Lone Signal.

In other news, I received a couple of emails from professionals and experts, one of whom is the director of Earth Tapestry, the project I've mentioned in the past. We had a brief exchange through email, and I plan to conduct a Skype call with him in about a week's time. It will be great to hear from someone whose project is also about sourcing people's opinions on significant aspects of our world.

By next week, I need to make sure I'm set on what my execution will be; I have to create something in the end, after all. I also hope to continue sourcing answers for my "big question," because everyone has an opinion on what is worth representing us.

Ad/Graph Thesis – My Big Idea

Last week, I explained that I was very interested in research on the Voyager Golden Record. After some deliberation and discussion with others, I'm now convinced that I'd like to focus on the topic of "cosmic messages in a bottle." Like my last blog post mentioned, the copies of this record contain a sampling of humanity, from a Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" to photos of a Soviet athlete at the 1972 Olympic Games. But it's been almost 40 years since the probes were launched. What would the next generation have to say about our world?

If you could send anything into space—a photo, a drawing, a video, a song, a short message—what would it be? Would you introduce yourself? Would you share something of cultural significance? Would you show a piece of history?

I think posing this question would be a great way to get others involved in the creation of this project, especially since society is creating more and more content (selfies, original music, blogs, tweets, etc.). Plus, most people would enjoy seeing their contributions in the show, I'd imagine. 

Voyager Project Manager Suzanne Dodd holds a copy of the Golden Record.  Photo Credit: NASA

I've also been pondering about what can be improved upon with regards to the record. Would it make sense to go digital? Could senses of smell, taste, and touch be represented, too? What other precautions could be taken to account for any unusual alien physiology? Some of these questions start to become very scientific, but it's helpful to bear these things in mind.

Could I capture the smell of freshly cut grass?  Photo Credit: Project Management Tips

Could I capture the smell of freshly cut grass?
Photo Credit: Project Management Tips

Would it be possible to simulate a human touch?  Photo Credit: ABC News Radio Online

Would it be possible to simulate a human touch?
Photo Credit: ABC News Radio Online

How could I share the taste of a cookie?  Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

How could I share the taste of a cookie?
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

What about other senses that are foreign to us, like seeing in UV light?  Photo Credit: NASA

What about other senses that are foreign to us, like seeing in UV light?
Photo Credit: NASA

I also read an interesting article about the Voyager probes' power sources. Apparently Plutonium-238 is running in short supply in the United States. If future missions are to take place, the government might need to reauthorize the production of the powerful element. It certainly has me thinking about the logistics that would come with sending out another "message in a bottle" into interstellar space.

Going forward, I'd like to reach out to as many people as I can about the topic, both professional and unprofessional. I've already talked with a few friends and family members about the concept, but I need to start figuring out what people would contribute. I also intend to begin drafting my thesis proposal, which will help solidify my plans. There's a lot to do, but committing to an idea is certainly a big step forward.

And now for something completely different. Just recently, the Hubble Space Telescope just discovered a galaxy that looks like a smiley face:

Photo Credit: NASA and ESA