Today Doritos makes history, taking the UK's first step in communicating with aliens as they broadcast the first ever advert directed towards potential extra terrestrial life. The University of Leicester has played a key part in the success of the project.
The transmission is being undertaken as part of the Doritos Broadcast Project, which invited the UK public to create a 30 second video clip that could be beamed out to the universe offering a snap shot of life on earth to anyone 'out there'. 61% of the UK public believe this is just the start of communication with ET life and that we will enter into regular communication with an alien species at some stage in the future*.
The winning space-ad entitled 'Tribe' was voted for by the British public and directed by 25-year-old Matt Bowron. It will officially be entered into the Guinness Book of Records and will be aired on the more conventional medium of television on Sunday 15th June on ITV at 7.44pm in the ad break of the final Group B game of Euro 2008.
The message is being pulsed out over a six-hour period from high-powered radars at the EISCAT European space station in the Arctic Circle. The University of Leicester has also been involved in the project from its inception.
EISCAT Director, Professor Tony van Eyken who will oversee the transmission said: "The signal is directed at a solar system just 42 light years away from Earth, in the 'Ursa Major' or Great Bear Constellation. Its star is very similar to our Sun and hosts a habitable zone that could harbour small life supporting planets similar to ours."
Peter Charles, Head of the Doritos Broadcast Project said: "We are constantly looking to push the boundaries of advertising and this will go further than any brand has gone before. By broadcasting the winning ad to the Universe, Doritos is delivering a world first and Matt Bowron, the winner, will go down in advertising folklore. We also shouldn't be too surprised if the first aliens start arriving on planet Earth immediately demanding a bag of Doritos."
The broadcast received praise from Nick Pope, former Head of the MoD's UFO project. Nick, a leading authority on UFO sightings and alien abductions commented: "I support this bold new venture in space communication. As humanity reaches out to the stars, this broadcast could lead to us finding the real ET. This is a historic day in our continuing search for alien life."
Dr Darren Wright, a New Blood Lecturer of the University of Leicester Department of Physics and Astronomy said: "The Radio and Space Plasma Physics Group and Department of Physics and Astronomy as a whole at the University of Leicester has a very high international profile in the area of Space Physics.
"An important part of this project is that it provides an additional component to the Physics and Astronomy Department's ever increasing outreach programme. The ad to be transmitted has been created by the public following a national competition thus increasing public awareness of space activities.
"The University is particularly committed to outreach programmes along with the National Space Centre - the brainchild of the University of Leicester - and engaged in a number of programmes with the wider public."
For further information on the broadcast, images, to see the advert or to interview spokespeople including Nick Pope please Jamie Kaye, Kate Brackenborough or James Regal at Frank PR on 020 7693 6999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
The cleverly created advert features a tribe of Doritos escaping from the pack and sacrificing one of their own to the God of Salsa, as soon as there are no humans around. It can be viewed online from today at www.doritos.co.uk and will premier on ITV during the final Euro 2008 Group B game on Sunday 15th June @ 7.44pm
*The research for the Doritos Broadcast Research was carried out online by Opinion Matters / Tickbox.net between 16.05.08 and 22.05.08 amongst a nationally representative sample of 2356 UK adults aged 16+.
Stills of the transmitters that make up the radar in Svalbard in the Arctic Circle are available from Frank PR, tel: 020 7 693 6999. There are also stills of various star constellations and space images. All are free of charge, with no copyright restrictions.
UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER INVOLVEMENT IN PROJECT:
Dr Darren Wright, a New Blood Lecturer in the Radio and Space Plasma Physics Group, Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Leicester has played a pivotal role in realising this project.
He said: "We were asked to comment on the feasibility of transmitting a TV advert into space and were able to suggest that one of the radar facilities available to the UK solar-terrestrial physics community, EISCAT (www.eiscat.com) would be an ideal tool to do this since it can transmit binary images, has a very high effective radiated power and a narrow beam width of only 0.5 degrees.
"I contacted the director of the facility, located in Svalbard, Professor Tony van Eyken, who was pleased to be able to participate. The EISCAT Svalbard radar is collocated with the SPEAR radar facility (www.ion.le.ac.uk/spear), operated by the Radio and Space Plasma Physics Group in the Dept of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester.
"My colleague Dr Nigel Bannister thought of the idea to transmit the advert to a nearby star (47 UMa, 42 ly distant) known to have a planetary system, thereby stimulating extra public interest. The idea of transmitting an ad into space is somewhat controversial but still of scientific interest. This could be a test for future very long range communications and it gives us an opportunity to tell the Universe we are here (in case someone out there is listening - like reversal of the SETI programme!).
"There could also be potential commercial interest in enterprises like this. Imagine one day that companies on Earth might wish to advertise to other planetary colonies within our solar system –for example if man ever moves to colonise Mars!
Another important part of this project is that it provides an additional component to the Physics and Astronomy Department's ever increasing outreach programme. The ad to be transmitted has been created by the public following a national competition thus increasing public awareness of space activities."
Notes to Editors:
Dr Wright is available for interview- please contact him via: +44 116 2523568 or ring Ather Mirza on 0116 252 3335