Message to the Moon Back in Action!

We are proud to announce our Message to the Moon project is back in action with a new launch contract and date.

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You can now send a text message for FREE on the staggering 250,000 mile journey to the Moon!

As it stands, you have 99 Days 14 hours in which to form your message and upload it via our new website. Why wait? Head on over now to secure your place in our lunar time capsule!

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“Goodnight Earth, Goodnight Humanity…”; Chinese Yutu Rover’s eerie farewell

China’s recently launched lunar rover ‘Yutu’, named so after the Jade Rabbit of Chinese mythology, has sent a heartfelt, if not a little creepy, message to the world;

“The sun has set here on the moon, and it’s getting very cold very quickly. I’ve already said so much today, but it never feels like it’s enough. I’ll let you in on a secret. Actually, I don’t feel very sad. Like all protagonists, in the story of my own adventure, I’ve just hit a little problem. Goodnight earth, Goodnight humanity.”

A photo of YUTU; or a pirate copy of Wall-E?

Yutu has encountered an ‘abnormality’ in its mechanisms which is preventing the rover from hibernating. As a result, the scientists that run the rover have been forced to admit defeat, but as per usual aren’t exactly releasing a lot of information to the public. They instead appear to think that pretending their vehicle can talk will save them from having to go into the semantics of their failure…still, pretty cute though right.

During the 14 day long lunar-day, Yutu can potter about across the surface, relying on solar power. But the rover usually goes into hibernation mode for the lunar-night, which activates the radioisotope heater protecting it from the -170C temperatures. Given Yutu’s admission that it “may not survive the night”, it is easy to deduce that some problem with the rover means it can’t go into hibernation mode. Perhaps given its sudden capability to feel human emotion, the robot is experiencing a bit of insomnia?

An image created by a superfan; ‘Yutu’s Dream’.

However the rover does seem to be being inspirationally noble about its demise. “Before departure, I studied the history of mankind’s lunar probes. About half of the past 130 explorations ended in success; the rest ended in failure. This is space exploration; the danger comes with its beauty. I am but a tiny dot in the vast picture of mankind’s adventure in space”, she said bravely. Being as it is impossible to communicate with Yutu during the lunar night, we will only know for sure what has happened to her by around Feb 8th. So I think that means we can expect another tear-jerker, this time…from beyond the grave.

In other lunar news, Valentine’s Day is coming up…and I bet that yours would find it pretty hard not to love you forever if you get them a Message on the Moon! Click here to send a picture, text, audio or video file to the moon for your loved one!

Chris + poet David Neita outside Lewisham Hospital

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Chris with People’s Poet David Neita.

Here, Chris is outside Lewisham Hospital with poet & lawyer David Neita. Chris’ first two daughters were born in Lewisham Hospital, and David led a successful campaign against the closure of the A&E dept, so they both have a personal connection to the hospital.

David Neita is often referred to as the ‘People’s Poet’ or ‘People’s Lawyer’ due to his representation of marginalised groups, and his addressing of social issues through poetry. He has worked with ISSET on many an occasion, as resident poet at our Message to the Moon days and attending our Astronaut Leadership Experience in the Lake District.

Commemorating JFK.

On our next trip to Washington, we will be visiting the burial site of former US President, John F Kennedy. It is the 50th anniversary of his death today, the 22nd of November.

Despite having only three short years of Presidency before being assassinated in 1963, JFK was instrumental in the USA’s mission to the moon in 1969. Perhaps the most one of the most inspirational events during his presidency was the launch of John Glenn, the first man to orbit the earth, in 1962. (ISSET Director Chris Barber was present over 35 years later at another of Glenn’s launches; this time to become the oldest man ever in space!)
The launch came at a time when Americans interest in space was fading; they had lost out on the first leg of the ‘space-race’ to the Russians, when cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin managed to orbit the Earth in 1961. The event was vital in the development of the moon-landing, as it’s success managed to justify the $7-$9 billion it was going to cost!

We at ISSET have a great affinity with the work of JFK, from taking students to the Kennedy Space Centre and Rice University (where he gave his world famous speech about man getting to the moon) to his great accomplishments in achieving the first manned mission to space, launching from Cape Canaveral.

We will be taking the photo below from our last trip to Washington on the Message to the Moon launch to commemorate JFK’s determination and passion for space exploration.

Grave of JFK – photo by Chris Barber

Message to the Moon Day for South Wales school pupils!

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Chris Barber introducing record-breaking British astronaut Michael Foale.

On Monday the 7th of October, Michael Foale and the ISSET team traveled down to Cardiff City Stadium to give a talk to children from South Wales schools, and gather their messages to be rocketed to the moon!

Michael Foale is a record-breaking former NASA astronaut. He has traveled on 6 space shuttle missions, a Soyuz mission and 2 International Space Station expeditions, during one of which he performed a spacewalk to repair components of the Hubble Space Telescope. He also saved the world’s only space station with his thumb, using it as a fixed point to calculate how fast the station was spinning and advise the Russian space controllers.

Most importantly, he was faced with many challenges and naysayers (comedian Stephen Fry famously mocked his ambitions to go into space when they attended university together) but he persevered and overcame them all to get where he is today . Hopefully through interacting with school pupils at functions like these, they will learn that anything is achievable for anyone!

Michael’s visit was a part of our Message to the Moon initiative, where we enable children’s ideas and messages to be preserved in a time capsule on the moon! The rocket will be launched in October 2015, so we’re travelling the country gathering messages.

This is a unique opportunity for the children to have a part of themselves in space, to forever be provided with a symbol of their unlimited potential.

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Michael Foale inspiring the schoolchildren of the Central South Consortium.

The talk was focused primarily on the numeracy and literacy skills of the children, with Mike using his experience of space travel along with some funny videos to engage them.

After this, I spoke to the children about our Message to the Moon programme. The talk included mathematical experiments, plus demonstrations of how zero-gravity would work, and then the children were left to write their own Messages to the Moon.

The event was a success, with over 200 messages collected! Here are a few of our favourites:

To the moon,

Come to Earth in peace. We live in houses and we are human beings not aliens. It is very nice on earth so please come and visit soon.

– Shahina Akhtar, Kitchener Primary

In the future, there may be a man on the moon once more, but there will be messages. This will travel to the Moon and spend time on the lunar surface until it disintegrates or is found and read. There will now be a peace of me on a different planet.
P.S. Congratulations on making it so far and reading this.

– Sion Chambers, Cardinal Newman:

Hi my name is Sam Waters I am human and live in Wales. 
If you are an alien please don’t zap me with your ray gun or any other humans. The year I wrote this is 2013. If the year is 3000 don’t bother. Thanks for reading. WE COME IN PEACE.

– Sam Waters, Dolau Primary School

High Five: Michael Foale congratulating a pupil on their message!

High Five: Michael Foale congratulating a pupil on their message!

We spoke to some of the pupils about their experience of Message to the Moon day;

A Day of Poetry, Science and Space!

On Friday 12th of July we’ll be in London for an exciting day full of poetry and storytelling, space exploration and tales of landing on the moon.We’re thrilled to be putting on this day combining poetry, astronauts, space exploration and science at the amazing venue of King’s College London. It’s free for all and we’d love to see you there too!

Message to the Moon Day will have guests including astronauts Don Pettit and Ken Ham, People’s Poet David Neita and former Director of the Kennedy Space Centre, Jay Honeycutt.mttmnewastronautWe will explore space and the magnificent enigma that is the moon through poetry, music and creative writing. Everyone will be able to express themselves creatively through writing workshops and team tasks, waxing lyrical on the moon and writing a poem to send there.

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People’s Poet, David Neita

Our poetry expert will be London local, David Neita. He uses his poetry to campaign for better learning environments for young people, so we’re looking forward to having him speak at our Message to the Moon Day, where space exploration and creative writing will come together to inspire people. David is known as the People’s Poet and People’s Lawyer. His poetry deals with social issues and he is passionate about representing marginalised groups of people. He has appeared on TV several times, including on BBC Breakfast, and believes that poetry is for everyone, that it is “not selfish or snobbish” and can be found everywhere, from music to drama and speeches.

Chris Barber and Jay Honeycutt, President of Odyssey Moon Ventures and  former Director of Kennedy Space Centre; visiting the Space Shuttle Endeavour in the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Centre.

Chris Barber and Jay Honeycutt, former Director of Kennedy Space Centre; visiting the Space Shuttle Endeavour

We’ll hear from Jay Honeycutt, who will be sharing his experience of being in Mission Control for the first moon landing. Jay is former Director of the Kennedy Space Station and worked on the Apollo Program in the 1960s. In fact, Jay was a flight operations engineer in Houston for Apollo 11 – the craft that took Neil Armstrong and other astronauts to the moon. He also worked on Apollo 13, the troubled mission that gave us the famous words “Houston, we have a problem”.

Jay’s story of being on the ground when these amazing events took place in space will surely be a gripping tale that will have us on the edges of our seats. Jay was instrumental in setting up Message to the Moon – you can read about the beginning of Message to the Moon and how he got involved in our blog post here.

Astronaut Don Pettit will be speaking to us live from Houston about poetry and music in space. Don had two long stays on board the International Space Station and recorded some great videos of the experiments he performed while he was there.

Watch this captivating video of Don experimenting with sound waves in space, by placing drops of water on a pair of speakers and playing music through them!

For those of you who have always wondered what it’s like to go into space, Astronaut and Space Shuttle Commander, Ken Ham will be giving an inspiring presentation on just that subject. Ken was pilot of his first space flight and Commander of his second and he’ll be talking about how going into space really feels and what it involves.

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Astronaut and Space Shuttle Commander, Ken Ham

All these inspirational people should get your creative juices flowing for the group tasks and poetry workshops! You’ll work in a team to do some group writing tasks and also write your very own poem to send to the moon. At the end of the day we’ll be giving awards for the best writing.

Message to the Moon Day is on the 12th of June and is free for all! It is being held in the Greenwood Theatre at Guy’s Campus, King’s College London. You can sign up for Message to the Moon Day here. We hope to see you there!

Greetings Aliens!

Oakfield Primary School in Cardiff have been thinking hard about the kind of questions they would ask alien lifeforms that live in outer space. Here are some of their (extremely crafty) Messages to the Moon.

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If you would like to send your own message, please visit our website at http://www.messagetothemoon.com.