First there was that family in Colorado who pretended that their six-year-old had absconded in a ballon shaped like a UFO… Then a Swedish mobile phone company dug a big crater on the border between Latvia and Estonia and pretended that it had been caused by a meteorite.

In both cases the police and various other authorities (Men in Black, Ghostbusters etc) were called out. Subsequently both were revealed to be hoaxes, perpetrated to generate publicity (for example in blog postings and other global media). The family in Colorado have been charged with various misdemeanours. Latvia has severed relations with Sweden or something.

Extra-terrestrial hoaxes are the new crop-circles. A cheap and easy way to generate news coverage with the added advantage that conspiracy theorists will breathe life into the news bulletin embers via web discussion.

So it is good news that you can now launch your own satellite into space for 5,000 quid.

The 0.75kg payload is ample for self-promotional  or domestic purposes – perhaps for a small transmitter playing a loop of one of your own songs on a popular FM frequency. Or for disposing of small, well-loved household pets as an alternative to the shoebox in the garden. Or for carrying a cheap laser pointer programmed to flash “will you marry me” in morse code to your beloved as he/she gazes at the romantic starry sky. Or for providing a platform for a tiny webcam to allow you at last to take pictures of those areas judged too sensitive to appear on Google earth.

While you are saving up, you could go out into the garden to admire the heavens. If you see a shooting star, you could make a wish… but remember that it is most likely an incandescent glimpse of somebody’s granny as the family-funded orbit for her ashes comes to an end.

2 Responses to “Stardust”

  1. 1 Camilla

    I think this could be a new corporate opportunity. You could launch (say) a yellow Aviva satellite broadcasting “No-one recognises you like Aviva” to the entire world. Although it would be a nuisance if you needed to change your slogan.

  2. They have some genuine stardust in the natural history museum, a little vial of it. It’s billions of years old and the oldest thing any of us are ever likely to see. Quite fascinating i thought.

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