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Sending Tweets to Heaven

Goldstone_DSN_antennaThis holiday season, remember a passed on loved one by sending a message to heaven. You’ll need to be long on faith, but you’ll have to keep your message short – 140 characters to be precise – which shouldn’t be an issue in this age of Twitter and text messaging, right?

The UK based Bereavement Register will provide the service via the Deep Space Communications Network (DSCN) at the Kennedy Space Station. (Ironically, the Bereavement Register is normally in the business of preventing communications with the deceased. Their “day job” is assisting British families with putting a stop to direct mail to those no longer with us.)

The bereaved can visit and enter a Twitter-style message that will be beamed to the cosmos. They’ll compile the messages and fire them into space in one shot on Christmas day, using state of the art transmitters and a five-meter parabolic dish. (The dish pictured is actually a much bigger 70 meter model, part of the similarly named but not to be confused NASA Deep Space Network, or DSN.) The transmission will be aimed at an “empty” area of space, ensuring the transmission traveling at the speed of light expands outwardly, unimpeded.

For the interested geek, they have chosen a comma separated/tab delimited file to transmit – clearly a choice compatible with the great database in the sky.

Let’s hope the Lifeboat Foundation doesn’t find out, as this being a flagrant affront to their mission of keeping Earth off alien civilizations’ radar. Sending messages to nowhere may be a gesture appreciated by your dearly departed, but you never know how a hostile alien nation in the transmission path may interpret the message billions of light years along its way. That is, if they aren’t too busy responding to Craigslist ads that have gone out on the DSCN previously.

Oh, you’ve got until December 20th to add your message.