A Teenage Bitcoin Millionaire Is Launching a YouTube Time Capsule Into Space

Friday, 18 August 2017 - 11:03AM
Space
NASA
Technology
Friday, 18 August 2017 - 11:03AM
A Teenage Bitcoin Millionaire Is Launching a YouTube Time Capsule Into Space
Image credit: Project DaVinci
Self-made teenage bitcoin millionaire Erik Finkman wants to launch YouTube into space. No, not the cat videos—Project Da Vinci, set up by Finkman and his high school peers, aims to collect a record of the people and places of planet Earth and send them out among the stars, taking the concept of the time capsule to its ultimate conclusion by filling a hard drive with videos (all initially posted to YouTube) as a snapshot of life in the early twenty-first century. It's a callback to what Carl Sagan and NASA did with the famous golden records aboard Voyager 1 and 2.

It's a fascinating idea, not least because (as the team working on it insist) Project Da Vinci "democratizes" space exploration by allowing all people across the world to contribute something to send out alongside more famous, notable works.

Finkman's team is made up of his classmates, a group of teenagers who are very proud of the fact that they're putting together something that will inspire a desire for extra-terrestrial adventure across the world. NASA is covering the specifics of the actual launch, but it's a group of students from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, that will manage the specifics of building a satellite to house all of the videos.



Watching the pitch video for Project Da Vinci, it's hard not to get caught up in the excitement that Finkman and his friends have for the project. As much as this is an opportunity to catalog modern life, it's also a way for these students to get practical experience researching and building scientific technology that will be used in space flight. For the most part, we often think of space as a domain that's reserved for adult scientists and astronauts—people who've dedicated their entire lives to trying to get human creations off the planet.

This high barrier to participation in space exploration is dropping, though. Commercial space travel is gaining momentum, and with plans to establish solid, permanent settlements on the Moon and Mars in the works, we're only a few short decades away from a future where laypeople are capable of escaping from Earth with greater ease. Project Da Vinci is a great step in this direction, and with any luck, this should help inspire a new wave of space enthusiasts to look deeper into what they can achieve by studying science and engineering.

As far as ways to spend a bitcoin fortune go, this is probably among the best. Erik Finkman is learning, helping others to learn, and giving people around the world a reason to get excited for the future of space travel.

Oh, and he's sending some Taylor Swift songs into space too.
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