Thursday, February 24, 2011

Anybody Out There? ASU Launches 'Dear Aliens' Writing Contest

Anybody Out There? ASU Launches 'Dear Aliens' Writing Contest



By ASU News
2-23-11

     What would you say to an extraterrestrial intelligent life form if you were contacted from outer space? Would you tell it about mountains, deserts, rain forests and oceans? Would you attempt to explain humankind’s efforts to create a greener planet? Or would you focus on who we are as the human race and what we have done?

This is the question Lucy Hawking is asking students throughout Maricopa County – from kindergarten through high school – to answer in a “Dear Aliens” essay competition that is hosted by the Arizona State University Origins Project. Winning entries will be broadcast into space by scientists at a special event on the ASU Tempe campus April 9 as part of a science and culture festival.

Hawking, co-author of a popular young-adult book series with her father, Stephen Hawking, is the inaugural Origins writer-in-residence at ASU. She hopes students will think about alien life forms, outer space, the recent discoveries of planets, and humanity’s advancements in space. But, she advises, there are other questions students should ask themselves as they consider their messages.

“Our essay writers should also consider life on Earth,” she says. “Who are we? What have we done? What would be interesting about Earth to an extraterrestrial? How can you possibly explain human society to a life form from another star system?

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