DALLAS—In what is being hailed as its single most ambitious messaging campaign to date, the Susan G. Komen foundation announced Thursday it had launched its first deep space probe, part of an effort to bring increased breast cancer awareness to the farthest reaches of the galaxy.
Shortly after the morning liftoff, Komen officials told reporters they expect the vessel, which they have christened the Outreach, to promote regular screenings and education initiatives across the entire 120,000-light-year span of the Milky Way.
The organization confirmed it had raised $1.3 billion to build the probe, approximately one quarter of which went toward painting the spacecraft pink, adding specialized pink fixtures to its interior, and outfitting its hull with glowing pink lights.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be standing here on this historic day, when we take the fight against breast cancer to the outer limits of our solar system and beyond,” said the group’s founder and chair of global strategy Nancy Brinker, speaking at a post-launch gala held on the 1,400-acre campus of the new state-of-the-art Susan G. Komen Space Center. “Thanks to so many generous donations and 5K charity run-walks, our new Outreach probe will ensure no being in the galaxy remains unaware of this deadly disease.”
“The vast, unexplored regions of deep space may contain life that simply doesn’t know how vital it is to get a mammogram at least once every Earth year,” Brinker continued. “But together, we can change that.”
According to officials, the Outreach is equipped with an array of highly advanced instruments for relaying the message that early detection is key to survival, as well as details on how to host your own “Passionately Pink” fundraiser for the organization.
Additionally, the probe’s sweep frequency transmission system emits modulated radio pulses that reportedly spell out “We Are Fearless,” “Make Your Impact,” and others of Susan G. Komen’s various trademarked slogans in all known languages, in addition to communicating details of the organization’s latest efforts to increase visibility through corporate brand partnerships.
The probe, which is propelled by its twin “Pink Power” ion thrusters, is said to travel at a relative velocity of 24 kilometers per second and is projected to reach the edge of the heliosphere by approximately 2039, at which point it will become the first human-made object to broadcast inspirational survivor stories and common early breast cancer warning signs into interstellar space.
“Even after the Outreach drifts past the Kuiper Belt and beyond the gravitational bounds of our sun, we’ll still be able to transmit updated photos of celebrity chefs participating in our ‘Cook For The Cure’ program to its high-frequency antennae,” mission flight director Kenneth Harrison said. “Whenever the probe comes within range of any star, its solar-powered transmitters will automatically send out the message that more than 1,000 breast cancer screenings are made possible each day by a Susan G. Komen community grant, and that attending a three-day walkathon where everyone camps out in matching pink tents can help end breast cancer forever.”
“This is the message that will eventually reach an estimated 200 billion stars and their planets,” Harrison added. “It’s incredibly exciting.”
Harrison went on to state that in order to communicate with any potential intelligent life forms that may have breast tissue, the Outreach features a pink stainless steel plaque with binary-based engravings indicating that one in eight human women born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and offering step-by-step instructions on how to perform a breast self-examination.
Sources confirmed that the probe’s cargo hold is filled with shirts, hats, stickers, coffee mugs, key chains, and various other Susan G. Komen–branded merchandise, which are packaged in hundreds of “gift capsules” that will be periodically jettisoned into space during the journey.
“It’s humbling to know that even after we lose radio contact with the probe, it will continue spreading awareness for eons, long after we’re gone,” said Brinker, who explained that the Outreach probe builds on the successes of the organization’s Sea Pink project, a deep-sea submersible that has been trawling trenches of the ocean floor emitting sonar messages about the disease since 2010. “With ambitious projects like these, we can finally make certain everyone in the universe is aware of breast cancer.”
“And because 44 cents of every dollar we spend goes toward such endeavors, your continued support is as important as ever,” Brinker added.