Module to carry bright ideas to the stars

08:46, September 30, 2010      

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A chip containing the 100 most innovative prospects for life in the year 2038 was sealed on Tuesday in Beijing and will be the first item to be placed on board China's first space module to be launched next year.

Time Chip, which drew its inspiration from the Expo 2010 Shanghai's theme of "Better City, Better Life", will be an important legacy from the Shanghai Expo, said Ji Lude, director of the research center under the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination.

"Today's society calls for imagination. The Shanghai Expo is not merely about exhibitions. The ideas and human creativity behind the works on display are more important," he said.

The Time Chip, produced by the Taipei-based electronic company VIA Technologies Inc, features cutting-edge technology whose intellectual property rights are owned by China.

The chip will be kept in the Shanghai Library until the space mission, according to Wang Dongju, deputy director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office.

On Sept 23, 2038, the chip is due to be activated for the first time to mark the centenary of Albert Einstein's famous letter to people living 5,000 years in the future, which was placed in a time capsule at the 1939 New York World's Fair.

Ten babies who were born between Jan 1 and July 30, 2010, were chosen to jointly open the chip in 2038 and assess whether the predictions have come to pass.

Since the Time Chip was opened for submissions on May 4, 2010, the project has received 150,000 letters from the young to the future. There have also been 3,500 detailed predictions about what life will be like in 28 years, according to the project's organizers, including the China Youth Daily and the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination.

From them, 100 have been selected for their ingenuity in addressing the pressing challenges that currently confront the planet.

A work by Ma Zhaoyuan, a physicist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was among those chosen. "By 2038, the 20th century may be viewed as the darkest period in human history, because of population growth, huge disparities in social wealth and environmental destruction," he said

According to Ma, technological advances have not brought a lot of happiness to people. "Wars are still going on and scientific breakthroughs have long outpaced people's understanding of themselves. In this context, Chinese traditions, which emphasize harmony, can shed some light on fostering world peace," Ma said.

John Naisbitt, a futurist and one of the project judges, said the 3,500 works were painstakingly reviewed according to international standards.

His wife, Doris Naisbitt, also a judge, encouraged people to have dreams and not to be deterred by perceived difficulties. She read another letter written by Einstein at the sealing ceremony.

In a 1911 letter to his colleague Willem Julius about widespread disapproval of his general theory of relativity, Einstein wrote: "The road I took might be a wrong one, but it had to be tried out."

Source: China Daily(By Bao Daozu)


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