LSST student messages to be sent to International Space Station on etched disc via MIT’s HUMANS project

Kunal Chan Mehta

By Kunal Chan Mehta | Article Date: 11 August 2021

Over the moon and beyond: HUMANS project co-founders Lihui Lydia Zhang (left) and Maya Nasr (Image courtesy of MIT)


A new space age is beginning, thanks to Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson – and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Its Humanity United with MIT Art and Nanotechnology in Space (HUMANS) project is collecting messages as a ‘record of our voices’ from people around the world including LSST students, and physically sending them to the International Space Station on a future mission.

The International Space Station is where the messages will be physically present on an etched disc (Image used with direct permission from NASA).


Mr Mohammed Zaidi, LSST’s Deputy CEO, said: ‘The exploration of space is as much about the journey as it is the destination. The concept of commercial space travel and giant space stations is rapidly progressing. This is why we are supporting The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT’s) HUMANS project where every LSST student will have the opportunity to have their message etched onto a disk and sent to the International Space Station.’

HUMANS project co-founders Lihui Lydia Zhang and Maya Nasr have a special video message for LSST students.

Nasr also serves on the United Nations’ Space Generation Advisory Council as policy and congressional legislation leads for a task force on U.S. space legislation, in addition to working on policies related to the peaceful use of space and expanding international participation in space.

‘I find the HUMANS project and the co-founders at MIT fascinating. The infinity of space belongs to us all. It even sets an exemplar for a new start as we have fought for too long over land,’ said Ancuta Racasan, a Business Management student at LSST’s Wembley campus, offering encomium. ‘I am delighted to assist MIT in creating a symbol of unity that promotes global representation in space and brings awareness to the need for expanded access to the space sector worldwide.’

Getting ready for cognitive blast-off in three…two…one, James Crystal, a Business Management student at LSST Aston, and also the Managing Director and Co-Founder for Eeverse, added: ‘Whenever I need inspiration, all I need to do is imagine the complex and mysterious nature of space. I share the vision that space should be more accessible and representative for more people around the world. To be able to add a strong diversity metric to the collection of voices and to know my message will be on the International Space Station will be one of my proudest moments. I thank MIT from the depths of my heart for this.’

Space is for everyone

Academics in various disciplines are poised to think thoroughly about the meaning, value, and risks of space exploration. For both Nasr and Zhang, the philosophy ‘space for all’ is personal as the International Space Station represents international cooperation in space, but there are still many countries around the world that are not included in that representation. Zhang added: ‘The HUMANS project won’t solve this problem, but we hope it will be a small step forward to help us advocate for expanding global access to space.’

Strategic thinking, interdisciplinarity, and diversity are values that are intrinsic to Higher Education and are indicators of intellectual humility. So, as private companies, space support agencies and defence organisations are expanding into space, it is fortunate that the Higher Education sector is going with them.

To participate in the HUMANS project, email to set up a video or voice call workshop to submit a text and/or audio message. These will need to follow project guidelines in order to be included on the final disk that will be sent into space.

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