Students in the Phoenix metropolitan area are competing in a contest called “Dear Aliens” in which the students each write an essay answering the following questions: What would you say to extraterrestrials if earthlings are contacted from outer space? If you had to speak for humanity, what would you say? The writing contest was launched by Lucy Hawking, daughter of astrophysicist Stephen Hawking.
According to the Arizona Republic, Lucy Hawking “is the writer-in-residence for ASU’s Origins Project, exploring the origins of the human race.”
Hawking has pointed out that the purpose of the contest is to spark the imaginations of students. The extraterrestrial theme has also been used by several schools in the UK as a topic for creative writing exercises. The essay contest is open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade, and the deadline for entry is April 1st. The winner of the contest will have their message broadcast into space via radio signals.