On Launching Phone Books into Space

NASA, as part of its recent Spacedust mission, solicited the general population to submit their names to be put on a microchip and launched as part of the probe. The web site says they did so as part of a public outreach program. Humans love this stuff ( I use "humans" because we are talking extraterrestrial here) as evidenced by the continued popularity of the International Star Registry every holiday. Why doesn't NASA just launch telephone books into space and skip the science altogether? Maybe then they could redirect their efforts to something useful, like finding alternative energy sources. I've always suspected NASA was a government make work program for smart people.


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