COMMUNICATING WITH someone on the International Space Station, which orbits the globe at 17,500mph and an altitude of 200 miles, is not easy. Even if you’re the daughter of one of the astronauts, Nasa won’t, it seems, give you an Earth-to-ISS walkie-talkie. Hyundai came up with a surprisingly simple solution: write a message in the sand, just as children do at the beach.
Stephanie, 13, from Houston, Texas, wrote, “Steph ❤s you!” on a piece of paper for her father, who spends months at a time in space, and gave it to Hyundai. The car maker assembled a crack team of boffins from Korea, Europe and America to make the message legible to her dad, who is either Terry Virts, commander of the ISS, or Scott Kelly, a flight engineer – Hyundai and Nasa aren’t saying which.
Realising that the message would need to cover nearly two square miles, the team assembled 11 Hyundai Genesis saloons and scouted locations to find the perfect canvas. They settled on Delamar Dry Lake, in Nevada.
The resulting message, in letters 11 cars wide, is indeed spotted by Stephanie’s dad from space, who captures the note on his camera. It’s a rather touching moment.
Should you wish to recreate the feat and contact the ISS astronauts, the all-new Genesis luxury saloon is available in Britain in selected Hyundai dealerships, from £47,995.
An email to Nasa might be easier and cheaper, though.