The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Beep a message to a Y52003 buddy

Me Arun in Y2K2. Who u in Y52003'

Punch in anything you want to say to GenXXXXX and send an SMS into space. Chances are, your message, sent from a Hutchison cellphone network, will remain in orbit for 50,000 years before returning to earth, to be read by someone, somewhere in the year 52003.

This is not from a George Lucas classic in the making, but a “real humanistic dream” of unleashing a new channel of communication between the present and the future — riding satellite Keo.

The International Keo Space Project aims to launch, in the second half of 2003, from France, the satellite capable of storing messages through time and space. After spending some 50,000 years in orbit, the satellite will come be back to earth with the memories and messages from today’s mankind.

Conceptualised by French artist Jean-Marc Philippe and implemented with the help of leading space agencies like Aerospatial, CEA, CNES, Digipress and Intespace, it has been termed the “project of the 21st century” by Unesco. Besides various engineering colleges and academic institutions, over 40 enterprises all over the world have joined hands with the communication project billed to break the barriers.

Among those booking a berth on Keo is the Hutchison group. “We wanted our subscribers to be part of this unique mode of communication with the future,” said Shonkho Choudhury, vice-president, Command, on Wednesday. The subscribers in other Hutchison circles — Orange in Mumbai and Hutch in Delhi, Chennai, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh — can also post their SMS in space.

Jean-Marc Philippe will be in India next month to talk about the Keo project and encourage people to be part of the “historic” communication movement.

“He will come to Calcutta in the first week of September and will visit various city schools and colleges. We are also involving Birla Planetarium in the programme. The messaging process has already started in some countries and it will go live in India from September 6,” added Choudhury.

What’s more, one doesn’t have to be a Command — or a cell user — to go back to the future. Messages, ranging from one liners up to a maximum of four pages, can be sent to Keo satellite (“which can accommodate contributions from every single human being on the planet”) on Net and through a special post.

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