How to Send Messages 10,000 Years into the Future

Popular Science recently profiled our Rosetta and 10,000 Year Clock projects, as well as a number of related long-term thinking projects, such as Martin Kunze’s Memory of Mankind, the Apollo 12 MoonArk, nuclear waste ray cats, and the Star Map at Hoover Dam.

Corroded, wrecked, and half-buried for 2,000 years like an accidental time capsule, the Statue of Liberty that looms over Charlton Heston in the final scene of the original Planet of the Apes is a literal symbol of humanity’s missteps: a horrible communiqué from the distant past about atomic annihilation. In the real world, many linguists, designers, and scientists are puzzling over how to intentionally send millennia-spanning messages to recipients whose languages, senses, and fears could bear little resemblance to our own. The projects these ­forward-​­thinkers dream up aim to convey clues about our existence, hellos to extraterrestrials, or warnings about nuclear waste—like postcards that will be legible to beings 1,000, 5,000, even 10,000 years ahead.

A highlight of the piece are the illustrations of the various projects, presented as postcards from the future.

Learn More

  • Re: Ray Cats: The Other 10,000 Year Project: Long-term Thinking and Nuclear Waste (Long Now)
  • Re: The MoonArk:
  • Re: the Star Map of Hoover Dam: The 26,000 Year Astronomical Monument Hidden in Plain Sight (Long Now)
  • Re: the Voyager Golden Record: Billion Year Mashup (Long Now)
  • Re: the Memory of Mankind Project: The Time Capsule That’s As Big As Human History (GQ)
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What is the long now?

The Long Now Foundation is a nonprofit established in 01996 to foster long-term thinking. Our work encourages imagination at the timescale of civilization — the next and last 10,000 years — a timespan we call the long now.

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