The KEO satellite, a space time capsule, will be launched in 2006 carrying messages from the citizens of Earth to earthlings living 50,000 years from now, when the satellite will return to its home planet. The project is sponsored by UNESCO and the European Space Agency among other institutions.

Table of contents
1 The messages
2 Other contents
3 Technical aspects
4 Project history
5 External links

The messages

Everyone is invited to write a message addressed to future beings -deadline is December 31, 2004. Messages can be keyed-in on the web, or sent by postal mail. As well, the organizers are encouraging everybody to gather messages from children, senior citizens or illiterate people so that every culture and human group on Earth is represented. The satellite has enough capacity to carry a 4-page message from each of the 6 billion+ inhabitants of the planet. Once the satellite is launched, the messages with personal names removed will be made freely available on the web.

Other contents

KEO will also carry a diamond that encases a drop of blood and samples of air, sea water and earth. The DNA human genome will be engraved on one of the faces. The satellite will also carry an astronomical clock that shows current rotation rates of several pulsars; photographs of people of all cultures; and a "Contemporary library of Alexandria", an encyclopedic compendium of current human knowledge.

Technical aspects

The messages and other contents will be encoded in radiation-resistant DVDs. Symbolic instructions in several formats will show how to build a DVD reader, which might no longer exist 50,000 years from now.

The satellite itself is a titanium hollow sphere 80 cm. in diameter engraved with a map of Earth and surrounded by several layers of other materials that make the sphere resistant to cosmic radiation, atmosphere reentry, space junk impacts and so on. As the satellite enters the atmosphere, one of these layers will produce an artificial aurora borealis. The satellite will not carry any communications or propulsion systems. It will be launched by an Ariane 5 rocket into an orbit 1,800km high, an altitude that will bring it back to Earth in 500 centuries: the same amount of time that has elapsed since early humans started to draw in cavern walls.

Project history

The Keo project was conceived in 1994 by French artist-scientist Jean-Marc Philippe, a pioneer of space art. Messages began to be collected in the year ? (missing data ?please complete), with an initial launch date set for 2001. Technical feasibility demonstration and other various delays have moved the launch date for 2006, contingent upon the successful completion of the Ariane 5 rocket.

External links