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Friday, 27 September, 2002, 10:31 GMT 11:31 UK
Star pupils send messages to space
Artist's impression of a space sail
The spacecraft's sail will be larger than a football field
Schoolchildren are preparing a series of messages which will be carried into deepest space as part of a pioneering mission.

Pupils at Woolmer Hill School, at Haslemere, Surrey, have been selected to take part in the programme.

They were chosen because of the school's connection with former Emerson, Lake and Palmer musician Greg Lake.

He is involved with the United States-led space project Team Encounter and his children attended the school many years ago.
Team Encounter's space mission
Payload weighs 3kg
Sail pushed by solar wind
Messages optically scanned onto disks
To be launched on Ariane 5 rocket in 2004

The idea of the project is to launch "humanity's first starship" in 2004.

It is hoped the space probe may one day come into contact with aliens who will be able to decode the messages and learn about Earth.

The craft will be propelled by an innovative sail the size of a football field which traps stellar winds.

With a payload of three kilos, the spacecraft will include digitised messages, drawings, photographs and DNA submitted by people across the world.

Team Encounter representatives visited Woolmer Hill School this week to discuss the programme with 100 students aged from 11 to 16.

Marilyn Jenkins, the school's student co-ordinator, said: "Many students wanted to concentrate on issues such as the environment and pollution for their messages but other areas were discussed such as entertainment and education.

"Rather than just writing prose or poetry some had the idea of writing a radio script or song."


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16 Feb 02 | Boston 2002
14 May 02 | Science/Nature
12 May 00 | Science/Nature
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