Platinum Metres in Space
Platinum Metres in Space
Joshua WF Thomson

On the 4th August at 4:48am (Japanese Standard Time) Joshua Thomson’s record Platinum Metres blasted off towards its ultimate conclusion. The L.P. was launched into space from the Japanese Tanegashima Space Centre onboard a nano-satellite.

The nano-satellite travelled on a H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), called Kounotori, or White Stork, towards the International Space Station where it was docked before being sent into orbit on 20th November 2013.

The launch and rendezvous with the ISS were streamed live online by JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) and NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). Footage from those streams can be found here and here.

Spectacular NASA footage of the release of the natosatellites from the ISS can be seen here.

This is a very exciting journey for Platinum Metres.

Voyager

In the summer of 1977 NASA sent two gold-plated copper phonograph records containing images and audio into space aboard Voyager probes I and II. The records were conceived as time capsules intended to communicate the story of our world to any intelligent life that might encounter them.

Platinum Metres is Joshua Thomson’s reworking of NASA’s epic mission. It’s a love-letter to the vinyl format and a tribute to NASA’s Golden Record.

NanoSatisfi

The nano-satellite that is carrying Platinum Metres has been developed by NanoSatisfi, a Californian start-up tech company that is revolutionising public-access to space.

Of the partnership between Nanosatisfi and Platinum Metres, Peter Platzer, CEO of NanoSatisfi says, "we’re excited that Platinum Metres will use our satellite platform for their space-bound project. The idea of combining morse code and poetry offers a unique perspective. This project is a unifying idea, reminding us all that we are part of one planet together. I am proud that our satellites can provide the medium for this type of art."

Please head to their website, to find out more about their groundbreaking work

Morse Code

As the satellite orbits Earth it will continuously transmit a six word poem out towards deep space. The poem has been translated into morse code and will be broadcast in the form of light waves.

As the poem is repeated the listener is invited to enter the poem from any point.

“listen in praise of one cosmos”

The text, by writer Emily Wolahan, is also etched around the centre of each record. Its broadcast is an imperative to all potential listeners.

Hopefully Platinum Metres says something positive about life on planet Earth.

details
the making of

Launched by NASA in the summer of 1977, space probes Voyager I and Voyager II were sent to the outer edge of our solar system to study gas giants Jupiter and Saturn.

As these most distant of man-made objects extend beyond the influence of our Sun towards interstellar space, they take on an ambassadorial role, which will potentially occupy them for many thousands, if not millions of years.

Messages were placed on-board both probes to communicate the story of our world to intelligent extraterrestrials or humans of the future who may encounter them. These messages are carried on phonograph records - 12" gold-plated copper disks each accompanied by a stylus and encoded instructions on how to extract the information contained. The contents were selected by a panel, chaired by astrophysicist Dr Carl Sagan.

The Golden Records include messages of welcome from international statesmen, greetings in 55 languages, 115 images encoded into analogue form, a 12-minute audio essay and 27 pieces of music. The essay consists of "The Sounds of Earth" which tells the story of life on planet Earth and the 27 pieces were selected to display the wealth, depth and diversity of our musical production.

It will be 40,000 years before Voyager I reaches the nearest potentially inhabited planets on its trajectory. The probability of either of the voyager probes being intercepted are so slim the project is perhaps more accurately regarded as an inward looking endeavour rather than a serious attempt to reach other life forms. According to Sagan, "The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced spacefaring civilizations in interstellar space. But the launching of this bottle into the cosmic ocean says something very hopeful about life on this planet."

Joshua WF Thomson - 2013

information
navigation