Hello Kitty might not be everyone's first choice for a spokesperson in space. As she's one of the most recognizable Japanese cartoon characters, however, perhaps it makes sense -- especially since our own SETI Institute has shut down its systems because of California wildfires. Someone has to pick up the slack, even if it is a cartoon cat.
The adorable cat is part of a space mission funded by Japan's education and science ministry, hoping to get the next generation interested in space travel and technology. So they launched Hello Kitty into space on a satellite and the fearless feline has been transmitting messages back to us on Earth.
"The cutesy feline character was chosen to participate in order to fulfill one of the goals of the $40 million project, which was to get more private companies interested in working with satellites," according to Wired UK.
Considering Hello Kitty turns 40 this year, perhaps Sanrio -- the company that licenses the character -- wants to celebrate the cat's anniversary on more planets than one.
Sanrio's "Let's Send a Message from Space" campaign encourages fans to send greetings that will be broadcast around our galaxy. There's even an adorable video in Japanese of Hello Kitty in space to promote it.
Fans have until August 25 to submit messages of 180 characters or less in English and Japanese. One message a day will be broadcast from August 26 through September 8. Just be sure to make them nice greetings. The last thing we want is an alien invasion thanks to an aggressive cat call.