What better way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of man flying to the moon than by sending a text message into outer space?
That's what UK company Sent Forever (www.sentforever.com) is hoping anyway, with a generous offer to waive its usual £9.95 fee ("including shipping") in commemoration of NASA's achievement.
Doubts over dishes
It's also an excuse for websites like Sent Forever to tout their dubious wares. Sent Forever allows you to compose a short text message which is then transmitted either "using a powerful radio telescope" or "using a large satellite transmission dish" (they don't seem too clear which) at the satellite earth station at Goonhilly in Cornwall.
Chris Thomason of SentForever says: "As a young boy watching Neil Armstrong take that famous first step onto the moon's surface, I knew I was part of an incredibly emotional moment in history. For the average person there aren't many moments like that in space exploration any more, so we decided to allow people to create their own emotional experience."
There's no particular destination in mind for your message, but Sent Forever would like you to "be assured that your message will travel for an eternity."
Er, very much like any radio-based communication then, from phone calls bounced over satellites to a humble SMS text message (although admittedly at a lower power level). And at 10p, about 100 times cheaper than Sent Forever's usual charge. Although Sent Forever will give you an individual 'tracking number' and, ironically, even post off the a certifiate of transmission to your recipient.