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article image'The Last Pictures' — Humanity's legacy to be sent into space

By Anne Sewell     Oct 12, 2012 in Science
Since 1963, more than 800 spacecraft have been launched into geosynchronous orbit, forming a man-made ring of satellites around the Earth, and will now include "The Last Pictures" as mankind's legacy once life has disappeared from the planet.
An organization called Creative Time, unites creative artists and people, and has come up with a new project, called The Last Pictures, which they say will be a message from humanity to alien civilizations. They plan to record the history of the human race in pictures, and to then send this data into space for these future civilizations to view.
The project is the brainchild of multimedia artist, Trevor Paglen, who wishes to make one of the satellites orbiting the earth into a carrier of a visual record of life on Earth, focusing on the “contemporary historical moment.”
In developing the project, Paglen has been in touch with various experts to develop a concept of how to construct the cultural snapshot. Collaborating with artists, scientists and anthropologists, he eventually decided that the record must contain visual content. This content will feature a total of 100 pictures, including works of art, natural phenomena, architecture and a detailed map of earth, and will be carried by the satellite in the form of a disk.
The project's website says that the disk is unique, as the materials used were developed to last for eternity. "Together with materials scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Paglen developed an artifact designed to last billions of years - an ultra-archival disc, micro-etched with one hundred photographs and encased in a gold-plated shell.”
The launch of this historical disk into Earth's orbit is set to happen this autumn, and it will travel aboard communications satellite, EchoStar XVI, mounted to its anti-earth deck.
The pictures can be viewed here.
More about creative time, the last pictures, Space, Satellites, Legacy
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