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Project: Message in a Bottle

In 1977, a mere two years before Sting penned his classic hit, the folks at NASA were busy preparing their own intergalactic "message in a bottle." The bottle, in this case, was the Voyager spacecraft, a vessel on a theoretically endless mission to explore the outer reaches of space. The message: a golden record (the most advanced storage medium of the time) containing samples of our planet and culture, from popular music to human brain waves. A statement from President Carter contained on the record read: "This is a present from a small, distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours."As we continue to try and survive our time, we hope to renew this spirit of optimism that the Voyager Golden Record so embodied, but on a terrestrial scale. Given that our next issue is all about water, we're asking you, our readers, to submit your best idea for a message in a bottle. It can be any sort of token: a written statement, a letter to a stranger, a piece of art you've created-basically anything that can fit on a page, and that would convey to whomever might find it, whenever they find it, that there's reason for hope. We'll display the submissions on our website, and the best entry will be printed as a page in the Water issue, with instructions on how best to tear it out, secure it in a bottle (glass please, not plastic), and send it on its way. There will be an additional prize for the winning entry, TBD, so check back soon.At the time of the Voyager launch, starry-eyed astronomer Carl Segan remarked: "The launching of this ‘bottle' into the cosmic ‘ocean' says something very hopeful about life on this planet." We have similar aspirations for this project.the OBJECTIVETo send a message of optimism out to sea, via bottle.the ASSIGNMENTCraft a message and email it to us. Your message can incorporate any kind of printed communication: text, graphics, photos, sheet music-whatever. We'll pick one to publish in the upcoming issue of GOOD so readers can actually send it to sea.the REQUIREMENTSYour submission has to fit on a standard page. Email your submission, as a jpg or text, to projects[at]goodmagazine[dot]com. We'll accept submissions through Sunday, May 31.UPDATE: We just wanted to acknowledge the comments about littering. We're certainly aware of the problem of trash in our oceans (see this recent Transparency). Casting a message to the sea in a bottle can be seen as adding to the litter problem. So could celebrating with helium balloons. We're always trying to balance enjoying the world with taking care of it. Our hope is that our net effect is positive. Thanks for keeping us honest. And to the commenter who asked about our parents: They're mostly at home.

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