SW, 30, Seeks Interstellar Romance

PARIS -- "Tall female French earthling, 1.83 meters, seeks tall, handsome alien, romantic if possible," Florence Dugoua, 30, says in a message to be carried by a rocket far across the solar system to a mysterious moon.


Her lonely hearts advertisement is one of thousands of messages, ranging from calls for galactic peace to invitations to share a plate of pasta, due to blast off on a U.S. rocket in October and bound for Titan, Saturn's biggest moon. The Paris-based European Space Agency, or ESA, is hoping that one million humans will seize a first chance to make a mark in space by contributing to a site on the Internet computer network: "http://www.huygens.com".


Signatures, messages and drawings will be accepted until March 1 and stored on a CD-ROM computer disc. They will be packed on ESA's Huygens robot probe, alongside an array of scientific experiments to measure Titan's atmosphere. The rocket will take off from Cape Canaveral in a NASA-ESA mission to Saturn, carrying the messages from cyberspace to outer space. Huygens will parachute through methane-nitrogen clouds to Titan's surface in November 2004, where it will stay.


Any aliens on Titan, shrouded in orange clouds and too cold for any known life at minus 180 Celsius, would get a bewildering portrait of earthling psychology if they were miraculously able to decipher the disc.


"Hello green worms," writes Christelle Levrat.


"If you want more friends, come and look us up on the blue planet," writes Luis Castro, 13.


"HELP" pleads Francisco Gonzalez Prieto, 43.


"Go screw yourselves, lousy aliens," says Massimo Gianelli, 26.


"A poem for the stars: Don't cry because you cannot see the sun, because the tears will stop you seeing the stars," writes Daniel Ceverino of Seville, Spain.


"Be realistic, demand the impossible!" urges Francois Michel Zavez.


Aliens will be spoilt for choice when visiting Earth.


Italian Rita Cristofari asks them to do "nothing nasty" but says "we'd be delighted to offer you a plate of pasta."


Miguel Basterrechea Verdeja suggests a visit to Santander, Spain, "to have a few glasses of wine."


With any luck, aliens would see most messages as peaceful rather than declarations of war. Titan is 1.43 billion kilometers from the sun, almost 10 times as far as Earth. ESA says there is no way of checking contributors' identities on the uncharted Internet. One gives his family name as "God," his first name as "Almighty," date of birth "1/1/1." He has no message for Titans, unlike a "Jesus Christ," who says "Watch out, I'm coming!"


A "U.S. President Bill Clinton," oddly writing in fluent French, claims "all earthlings dream of being Americans." He adds: "Dear Titans, become the 51st state of the United States, the most beautiful country of the universe!"


ESA spokesman Jean-Paul Paillet likened the project to sending messages in a bottle, with no hope of a reply. "If any life form ever reads these messages, the chances are it will be humans gone to explore Titan sometime in the distant future," he said.


Titan is bigger than Earth's moon and slightly larger than the planet Mercury. The moon intrigues scientists because of the planets and moons around the sun, only the Earth and Titan have an atmosphere rich in nitrogen. ESA says Titan probably smells like an oil refinery, perhaps bathed in a sea of ethane and methane.


ESA reckons that Huygens, named after Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens who discovered Titan in 1655, could reveal clues to the chemical compounds on Earth before life emerged. As it parachutes to the surface, Huygens will beam information to NASA's Cassini probe which will relay it back to Earth. Huygens's final experiment is to see if the surface is solid or a liquid.


The idea for the space messages came from the four American Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft launched toward deep space in the 1970s, strictly limited to friendly, official messages. The Pioneer plaque showed a picture of a naked man and woman, the man with his hand raised in greeting, along with a map of the sun and the planets. It also showed a map of nearby pulsars to help locate the Earth in the Milky Way Galaxy.