Grants:IEG/Wikipedia likes Galactic Exploration for Posterity 2015

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statusnot selected
Wikipedia likes Galactic Exploration for Posterity 2015
summaryGeraldshields11 proposed launching copies of the good articles of Wikipedia into outer space. He proposes to call the series “Friendship”.
targetWikiSpace and WikiSTEM
strategic priorityincreasing participation by leaving your mark in outer space
themeoffline outreach and partnerships
this project needs...
created on11:14, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
round 2 2015

Project idea[edit]

Welcome, brainstormers! Your feedback on this idea is welcome. Please click the "discussion" link at the top of the page to start the conversation and share your thoughts.

As an unparalleled way to raise awareness of the Wikimedia projects, I propose to create a tremendous media opportunity presented by launching Wikipedia via space travel. Space travel garners a level of media interest that few other things do, so it would be worth capitalizing on that opportunity. The project would consist sending copies of Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects, of several languages, into outer space using various means.

In the short-term, I propose sending copies of Wikipedia, in several languages, as a piggy back on various nations' and organizations' space missions. This idea is similar to Voyager space probes sent by NASA, which included a plate with carved human figures and a phonograph-type record. However, this project is more likely intended as a time capsule to show future human generations, what was important to humanity in the far past, similar to time capsules.

The name was inspired by a Star Trek:Voyager episode called Friendship One. In the episode, the Earth government, before joining the United Federation of Planets, launches a probe to spread culture and information in the Milky Way Galaxy. Also, the airplane race around the Earth, called Friendship, was an inspiration.

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

There are several problems that are being solved by this effort.

  • As an unparalleled way to raise awareness of the project, create a tremendous media opportunity presented by launching Wikipedia via space travel. Space travel garners a level of media interest that few other things do, so it would be worth capitalizing on that opportunity.
  • To preserve the good articles for future Earth-descended generations.
  • The issue that is being addressed is to conserve our efforts for posterity.

What is your solution?[edit]

Friendship 1[edit]

At the Idea Lab, Micro Sat Project Team on 31 May 2014

In May 2014, I discussed the idea with fellow Wikipedians at the WikiConference USA 2014 to promote Wikimedia, STEM, and space exploration.

As of 2015, I modified the mission and the solution to send Wikipedia to a place where the censors and deletionists cannot touch it easily and would be difficult for others to censor it.

As of 10 March 2015, I received a message from a satellite maker and launcher and was told that a SD card slot is available for use as a piggy back on an already planned mission. The satellite is already built for a non-Wikipedia purpose. The satellite launch is scheduled for the end of 2015. Currently, the satellite maker and launcher is asking how much the group can financially support the project.

That is why I ask for the amount.

On 11 October 2015, I made an announcement about this project at the WikiConference USA 2015 as part of the Lightning Talks.

As of 12 October 2015 and up to the present, I modified the proposal to focus on the raising awareness aspect based on community feedback. Thank you all for the suggestions. I appreciate it.

Project goals[edit]

  • No one has sent Wikipedia, Wikimedia, or WikiCommons into outer space. We would be the first to do it.
  • It may increase name recondition of Wikimedia and its subcomponents.
  • It may increase STEM coolness.
  • It may increase the coolness and hipness of NASA, "intended to be an introductory flight opportunity to provided exposure to, and spark interest in, space based science missions" similar to 41.110 UO KOEHLER/COLORADO SPACE GRANT 6-26-2014.
  • This is my Ada Lovelace STEM project.
  • If found by the Earth-descended, in the far future, then it may act as a w:en:Rosetta Stone for historians.
  • Avaition buffs will associate this launch with a similar named around the world speed flight.
  • Star Trek fans may be recruited to improve articles to good status.

Project plan for Friendship 1[edit]


  1. Form a Galactic Exploration committee to handle a campaign to fund the financial support of the piggy back ride on a satellite.
  2. Contact various space-related organizations for support.
  3. Get permissions to piggy back on a satellite from various organizations.
  4. Ask for a donation or purchase a 512 GB SD card or other non-volatile storage medium to place on the space craft.
  5. Use the preexisting copy of WikiOffline for the curated and profanity-free versions of Good Articles (or Extract the good articles of Wikipedia and WikiCommons and place on storage medium). Please see the Wikipedia offline team and their idea page about the OpenZIM files.


  • a 512 GB SD card: (Amount) USD 800
  • fund the financial support of the piggy back ride on a satellite: (Amount) USD 4,200
  • Project management: (Amount) USD 0
  • Wikimedia merchandise for volunteer giveaways: (Amount) USD 0
  • Total Budget: (Amount) USD 5,000

Community engagement[edit]

Proposed Fund raiser campaign[edit]

At the WikiConference USA 2015, w:en:user:billyC840 said he would be interested in creating a crowd sourced fund raiser for this project.

Levels of funding[edit]

  • $10 – your name in the data as a supporter of this satellite Friendship 1
  • $20 - your name in the data as a sponsor of this satellite Friendship 1
  • $30 – your name in the data as an explorer of the satellite Friendship 1
  • $100 - your name and Wikipedia User page in the data as an explorer of the satellite Friendship 1
  • $1,000 – your name etched into the frame and your name and Wikipedia User page in the data as an explorer of the satellite Friendship 1
  • $10,000 – use of your voice to record of predetermined greeting, written by program manager
  • $100,000 – use of your voice to record a greeting you create with final approval by program manager


Project plan for Friendship 2[edit]


  1. Technical design of the time capsule based on the 160GB 1.8-inch HDD (started 23 October, 2015) (see the project's talk page)
  2. Selection of wikipedia databases to fit in the 160GB (can anyone help?)
  3. As soon as external specs of time capsule ready, contacting micro-satellite makers for piggy-back launch.
  4. Manufacture of the time capsule (in home workshop) in 2016
  5. Testing of gliding descent and crash survivability by dropping from nearby cliff
  6. Sea water flotation/corrosion test for 6 months (in jar)
  7. Loading data to capsule and launch to high earth orbit (800km or higher) in 2017 or 2018


Do everything on the volunteer or charity funding base to reduce the cost and avoid the funding-related schedule slips

  • HDD (80 USD)
  • Raw materials (A5083) for radiation shield and heat soak (60 USD)
  • Shock absorbers and fixture (100 USD)
  • Pyrophorics for reentry marker (rare-earth magnet?) (20 USD)
  • Ablative shield made of paper-phenolic board (30 USD)
  • Cutting, machining and assembly accessories (50 USD)
  • Piggy-back launch (0 USD)
  • Total 340 USD *2 (1 capsule spent for destructive testing)

Next Generations and Specifications of future micro satellites (Friendship 2 and the future Friendship missions)[edit]

In the very very long-term, I propose creating a micro satellite containing non-volatile bubble memory chips wrapped in a sphere-shaped photovoltaic panels powering a simple radio transmitter. The photovoltaic panels will power the radio and transmit only when the micro satellite comes close to a star. The radio signal will consisted on short beeps and long pauses. The radio signal will start with one beep then a pause, then two beeps then a pause until ten beeps then a pause before repeating one beep and so on.

  • Build a micro satellite and launch it into orbit
  • of nonvolatile computer memory to store the good articles of Wikipedia in several languages
  • with photovoltaic panels to act as skin
  • and with a simple radio transmitter for a beep based on the Fibonacci number sequence (or Golden ratio sequence).

Project stages[edit]

Measures of success[edit]

I need help here Here is a list of my proposed global metrics:

  • actual launch into orbit
  • number of tweets, Facebook likes, or other social media
  • number of new editors
  • number of newspaper articles about launch
  • number of mentions on LinkedIn

This is probably the most important[edit]

  • commitment of other space organizations to include copies of Wikimedia products on thier space missions

Need target-setting tips? Note: in addition to your project-specific measures of success, you will also be asked to report on some Global Metrics at the end of your final report. Please keep this in mind as you plan, and we'll support you as you begin your project.

Get involved[edit]


  • Geraldshields11 (talk) 21:20, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Volunteer I would like to help in any way I can, even if it's just promoting the project via social media. GlamChem (talk) 01:45, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I can donate. -- econterms (talk) 14:33, 7 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I can help with hardware development and specs. Had an experience with satellites development.Trurle
    • Volunteer Technical development of time capsule Trurle (talk) 23:41, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
Thank you all so much. Geraldshields11 (talk) 14:23, 15 October 2015 (UTC)

Community notification[edit]

Please paste links below to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions. Need notification tips?

  • On 27 April 2015 at 8:00PM Eastern time, I had a telephone conference with the ARRL Maryland/DC group about using amateur radio sat to send electronic copy of Wikimedia into outer space. Just ask Sid - NH7C.
  • At the WikiConference USA 2015, I, Geraldshields11, made a status report on this project during the Lightning Talks.
  • At the WikiConference USA 2015, w:en:user:billyC840 said he would be interested in creating a crowd sourced fund raiser for this project.
  • Basically, I went to the WP:list of project pages and chose the most likely relevant projects and posted an announcement on the project talk page. Then, I looked at editors active in that project and randomly posted an announcement on the user:talk page. I followed the suggestions of commentators on the 2014 and 2015 version of the project pages. All Done as of 16 October 2015.
I am sorry if the wikicoding of the announcement spammed anyone. As I typed earlier in this section, I did not know the coding or how to do it. I lived and learned so it will not happen again. Thank you for your patience and understanding.


  • Geraldshields11 (talk) 21:20, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
  • The act of sending a digital copy of Wikipedia out into deep space is (1) powerfully symbolic, (2) affordable (if a space mission is going anyway), (3) represents a kind of backup against catastrophe. It uses public domain data, not representing a private interest. In a small way it represents us, the people who wrote it, as our publication that went the "furthest". econterms (talk) 00:33, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I think this idea is a brilliant way of preserving knowledge for future generations! GlamChem (talk) 01:46, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Support Support I like the media potential of this project, however unrealistic its preservation targets may be. Concentrate the funding on media opportunities.--Ipigott (talk) 08:22, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Laura C
  • I support making, and distributing out into space, a snapshot copy of the emergent Wikipedia--a repository of human knowledge that is being built from the bottom up--as it exists a month or year prior to satellite launch. I believe this will serve as a time capsule of information that may one day prove useful to others, in the far future. N2e (talk) 15:50, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Patricia F