The text displayed on the structure is an open letter from the Breakthrough Initiatives and reads:
Who are we?
A mature civilization, like a mature individual, must ask itself this question. Is humanity defined by its divisions, its problems, its passing needs and trends? Or do we have a shared face, turned outward to the Universe?
In 1990, Voyager 1 swiveled its camera and captured the ‘Pale Blue Dot’ - an image of Earth from six billion kilometers away. It was a mirror held up to our planet - home of water, life, and minds. A reminder that we share something precious and rare.
But how rare, exactly? The only life? The only minds?
For the last half-century, small groups of scientists have listened valiantly for signs of life in the vast silence. But for government, academia, and industry, cosmic questions are astronomically far down the list of priorities. And that lengthens the odds of finding answers. It is hard enough to comb the Universe from the edge of the Milky Way; harder still from the edge of the public consciousness.
Yet millions are inspired by these ideas, whether they meet them in science or science fiction. Because the biggest questions of our existence are at stake. Are we the Universe’s only child - our thoughts its only thoughts? Or do we have cosmic siblings - an interstellar family of intelligence? As Arthur C. Clarke said, “In either case the idea is quite staggering.”
That means the search for life is the ultimate ‘win-win’ endeavor. All we have to do is take part.
Today we have search tools far surpassing those of previous generations. Telescopes can pick out planets across thousands of light years. The magic of Moore’s law lets our computers sift data orders of magnitude faster than older mainframes - and ever quicker each year.
These tools are now reaping a harvest of discoveries. In the last few years, astronomers and the Kepler Mission have discovered thousands of planets beyond our solar system. It now appears that most stars host a planetary system. Many of them have a planet similar in size to our own, basking in the ‘habitable zone’ where the temperature permits liquid water. There are likely billions of earth-like worlds in our galaxy alone. And with instruments now or soon available, we have a chance of finding out if any of these planets are true Pale Blue Dots – home to water, life, even minds.
There has never been a better moment for a large-scale international effort to find life in the Universe. As a civilization, we owe it to ourselves to commit time, resources, and passion to this quest.
But as well as a call to action, this is a call to thought. When we find the nearest exo-Earth, should we send a probe? Do we try to make contact with advanced civilizations? Who decides? Individuals, institutions, corporations, or states? Or can we as species - as a planet - think together?
Three years ago, Voyager 1 broke the sun’s embrace and entered interstellar space. The 20th century will be remembered for our travels within the solar system. With cooperation and commitment, the present century will be the time when we graduate to the galactic scale, seek other forms of life, and so know more deeply who we are.
- The estimated handover date was 2020.
- The design contract was awarded to ES Devlin.
- McLaren Group has been appointed as the main contractor.
- Other companies involved with United Kingdom Expo 2020 Pavilion include Veretec, Atelier One and Dawson Consulting Architects & Engineering.
- From United Kingdom Expo 2020 Pavilion it takes roughly 33 minutes to drive to Dubai Mall, 27 minutes to Palm Jumeirah, 30 minutes to Burj Al Arab and 28 minutes to The Walk JBR.
- Dubai International Airport (DXB) is roughly 40 minutes' drive and the new Al Maktoum International Airport is roughly 23 minutes' drive. All durations are calculated by Google Maps and assume the fastest route in typical traffic conditions.
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