Yahoo has invited people all over the world to contribute to the project in the form of pictures, videos, songs, ideas, drawings or anything else that could embody humanity in 2006 and be sent via digital signal. There is an area on the Yahoo site for submissions, which will be accepted until Nov. 8. Suggested topics include love, anger, fun, sorrow, faith, beauty, hope and "you."
"It is really a view, or lens, on what is going on in the world,'' said Yahoo editor in chief Srinija Srinivasan. "The idea is to capture this snapshot in time. We want and we expect to be surprised.''
So far, along with submissions for the general public, several celebrities have contributed to the project, including the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, who provided her thoughts on the autonomous Spanish community of Andalusia; action movie director John Woo, who contributed a portion of his first comic book; and alternative medicine expert and author Deepak Chopra offered his ideas on how to end war.
In addition to the time capsule -- to be buried in a secret location at Yahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale, California -- Yahoo is celebrating the project at The Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, Mexico with a three-day webcast ceremony beginning Oct. 25. Digital content that officials consider exceptional will be projected onto the pyramid and be beamed into space from the ancient location. Copies of the content will be provided to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington and The National Institute of Anthropology and History in Mexico City.
"We are bringing together this ancient site with present-day culture in the time capsule and at the same time beaming it into space for the future," Srinivasan said. "It is there for whoever is out there."
"I hope that Yahoo does not decide to beam stupid YouTube videos into space, or some alien civilization might decide that Earth is not worth preserving," joked Mike Adams, a proponent of SETI and author of "The Ten Most Important Emerging Technologies for Humanity." "I am not convinced that beaming digital streams of modern content into space is a smart strategy for contacting extraterrestrial civilizations. At best, it may annoy them. At worst, it may motivate them to fire up the photon torpedoes and hit reply."
According to Yahoo officials, the company plans to open the time capsule for its 25th anniversary in 2020.