The sheer volume of information and content that is produced on Earth is mind numbing. For example, over 35 hours of video footage is uploaded to YouTube every minute. But earthly boundaries aren’t enough. Now, we are accepting submissions from the red planet.
Robotic rovers and satellites have been sent to Mars before. They have gathered images, video, and other data from the planet and sent them back to Earth. Now, for the first time, Earth has received our own voices, broadcast from Mars.
The Curiosity Rover, NASA’s most recent visitor to the surface of Mars, last week broadcast the first human words from another planet. A statement read by Charles Bolden, administrator of NASA, was transmitted to Curiosity, and then back to NASA’s Deep Space Network facility on Earth. The message thanked all of the individuals who worked on the Curiosity mission, and is the first time a recorded human voice has traveled between another planet and Earth.
Not content to stop there, NASA then proceeded to make history once again by broadcasting the first song from another planet, “Reach for the Stars,” an original song by Will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas fame and technology enthusiast.
Impressive work for a robot that can only broadcast at 10,000 bps, or ca. one 10 megapixel image per day. Indeed, Curiosity’s speed is on par with a 1984 computer modem.
Curiosity is also very active on Twitter (@MarsCuriosity), with over 1 million followers, and an irreverent style of tweeting that frequently references dance moves. Sample tweet: “1st drive complete! This is how I roll: forward 3 meters, 90º turn, then back. Electric slide, anyone?”
What NASA has demonstrated with Curiosity thus far shows both scientific advancement pushing the boundaries of what can be transmitted between planets, and also a social savvy that is engaging and exciting space fans and non-fans alike.