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Yahoo To Beam Digital Time Capsule Into Space

Yahoo and Yahoo Telemundo will build the digital time capsule using user-generated content and project it into space and onto an ancient pyramid in Mexico.
Yahoo and Yahoo Telemundo are creating a digitized time capsule that will beam onto an ancient pyramid in Mexico and into space.

Yahoo began accepting submissions of photos, video, sounds files, video and text Tuesday and announced that it would send the content into space and project it onto the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, near Mexico City.

The company said in a prepared statement that the purpose was to join the "past and present with the universe's potential future by sharing today's culture on Earth with other life that may exist light years away."

Yahoo Time Capsule artist Jonathan Harris put it another way. He said self-expression is "a tradition as old as cave art."

"We do these things to become individuals, to fight anonymity and the passage of time," he explained in a prepared statement on the Time Capsule micro site.

Harris said that people "tumble" through life quickly, trying to keep pace with the present and rarely have time to reflect on the "full arc of life, much less the arc of many lives."

"We rarely consider the legacy we are leaving behind," he said. "But what if we did? What if we were each to choose a small handful of precious thoughts and artifacts to represent our life -- a few words, a few pictures, perhaps a drawing or two " and were to put them away somewhere safe, as keepsakes for the future."

A Canadian man in his 20s submitted a photo of a smiling child with sparkling light reflected in his blue-green eyes. The French text that goes with it translates as "the stars in the eyes of my boy Alexis."

The time capsule is meant to document the good and bad of life around the world in 2006. As of Tuesday afternoon, Yahoo had received 774 entries centering on ten themes. The most popular theme, so far, is love, with 231 entries. Though people all over the world can contribute in several languages, people in the United States had submitted more entries (135) than any other country, with Mexico contributing the second-highest number (64), by Tuesday afternoon.

Yahoo said it expects the time capsule to be the largest ever created. The company plans to project the contents onto the 216-foot pyramid, in what is known as the City of the Gods, and beam it into space with digital laser light Oct. 25-27. The event will be Web cast live. After that, Yahoo will digitally archive and seal the capsule for opening on the company's 25th anniversary in 2020. Yahoo also will submit copies to Smithsonian Folkways Recordings archives and the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Mexico City.

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