Special Air Mail Delivery from Montana to the Moon
You can send a message to the moon. It's true. And it's all because of a little computer that researchers at Montana State University in Bozeman have developed for NASA.
The RadPC was a design MSU developed about 10 years ago to help computers operate in a radiation-rich environment. The space computer problem is when little radiation particles zip into the circuits, it interrupts the computer's operation. MSU folks created a highly redundant computer that would allow a damaged circuit to be immediately replaced by a good one. And the important thing - they made it small. Other solutions were big and bulky.
The RadPC has been tested multiple times, even on the International Space Station, but not yet on the Moon. That will change when NASA sends one up to the lunar surface next year. It will have enough room in its memory for some extra cargo. That's where you come in.
MSU is inviting Montana students and the general public to submit text of roughly 50 words, along with an optional image, to be part of the cargo. As professor Brock LaMeres said in a news release, "We had room for some extra memory in the computer and thought this would be a cool way for people to connect with the project."
The researchers are suggesting messages that inspire future generations or pay tribute to someone. For more information or to submit a message, go to montana.edu/moon. The deadline is only a month away. And you can thank the 62 MSU undergrads, 17 graduate students and a dozen faculty for the unusual opportunity. RadPC will probably ride to the moon on a SpaceX rocket in 2023.
This reminds us of the interstellar Voyager spacecraft, with their golden records. And MSU did a similar thing on one of their satellites - an aluminum plate with the names of the MSU 2018 graduating class.