Hyundai hopes you’ll think its Genesis luxury sedan is out of this world, and it’s pulled off a unique stunt to drive that message home, by sending a message to space the old-fashioned way — like, Nazca-lines old-fashioned.
The automaker had the daughter of one of the astronauts on the International Space Station handwrite a message to her father, and then used a fleet of cars to almost perfectly replicate it with tire marks on Delamar Dry Lake in Nevada at a large enough scale that it could be spotted from 249 miles straight up.
The note reads "Steph ❤s you!” and was apparently directed at ISS Cmdr. Terry Virts, although he is not identified in the video documenting the event.
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To pull it off, Hyundai needed 11 cars wearing studded tires driving side by side to make the lines wide and deep enough to be picked up clearly by the telephoto lens on the astronaut’s DSLR camera. The entire message covers over two square miles, enough to earn it a Guinness World Record for “largest tire track image.”
The producer of the project, Johnny Lee of Duo Films, says it was shot over three days in January after several weeks of logistics work. His team worked with civil engineers to lay out the design, then mapped it into a GPS system to guide the drivers.
If you still don’t believe it is real, Bureau of Land Management spokesman Chris Hanafeld says that while Mother Nature is quickly erasing it, remnants of the message remain, so feel free to make the 2.5-hour drive north from Las Vegas to check it out for yourself.
Coincidentally, Delamar Dry Lake was the site of a 2012 drop test for the Boeing CST-100 crew transportation capsule, which is on track to start ferrying future astronauts to the ISS by 2017.