Science and Tech


Students Aim To Send Your Videos, Photos And More To Mars

A group of students has launched an initiative to send a "time capsule" to Mars by 2017. The group plans to include media from people all over Earth.
Posted at 5:55 PM, Jun 24, 2014

​​​A group of students wants to send your ​selfies into space.

Student-led project Time Capsule to Mars was announced Monday. Its organizers, who come from MIT, Duke, Stanford and UConn, hope to land a digital time capsule on the red planet within the next three years. (Via Time Capsule to Mars)

But what's inside is up to you. The team is asking for messages, photos, audio clips and videos from people all over the world. 

The project's mission director told National Geographic"Our generation is all about social media and connecting, and [the Time Capsule to Mars] would be an extension of that. We'll be taking another step to connect Earth and Mars."

​The uploads will also go toward its $25 million funding goal. Anyone with a message for Mars can upload up to 10 MB to the site,, for just $0.99. (Via Time Capsule to Mars)

Other organizations, including NASA, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, have also pledged support for the project. If enough money is raised, three CubeSats full of your digital gems will make their way to Mars. (Via Time Capsule to Mars)​ 

If you're unfamiliar with CubeSats, NBC explains they're 4-inch cubes built to bum rides into space from government and commercial launches.

Once the CubeSats break through the atmosphere, though, the students plan to use an ion electrospray propulsion system developed at MIT to rocket them toward the red planet.

​However, The Verge notes, "A lot of the technologies that the students plan to use haven't been tested yet, so that [2017] target date might take a hit."

But chances are the cubes will reach Mars before humans do. In the past, President Obama has said NASA will launch a manned mission into Mars' orbit around 2030. (Via Scientific American)

For ambitious crew, that's just not soon enough.

The Boston Globe reports the idea came after students attending last year's Humans 2 Mars summit in Washington "noticed that many of the summit's attendees seemed to be more motivated by the fame they would get from being the first to land on Mars, rather than using a mission for technological advancements and a better understanding of the universe."

The project's mission director says Time Capsule to Mars aims to "push forward humanity." So at least make it a good selfie.