A bold new tourism campaign by VisitLEX in Lexington, Kentucky is taking marketing to cosmic heights by beaming a laser message into space inviting extraterrestrial visitors to see the sights of the Bluegrass State. This lighthearted but scientifically backed endeavor aims to grab interstellar attention and put Kentucky on the intergalactic travel map.
Laser Message Sent to Nearby Star System
Using a high-powered laser at the International Center for Air Transportation in Lexington, a brief message was transmitted earlier this week towards the triple-star system HR 3089 located about 40 light years from Earth . The friendly broadcast invited any listening aliens to come experience Kentucky’s hospitality and highlights like the Kentucky Derby and Bourbon Trail.
While not expecting an RSVP anytime soon due to the vast distances of space, project leaders view this communication attempt as the first step in an ongoing campaign to welcome off-world tourists. As lead astronomer Dr. Jeff Melvin of the University of Kentucky enthused: “This inaugural transmission announces our planet’s capabilities for interstellar tourism and Lexington as a destination for future visitors.” 
Key Details of Laser Beam Message:
- Sent to nearby star system HR 3089
- 40 light years from Earth
- Message invites aliens to visit Kentucky
- Promotes Bourbon Trail & Kentucky Derby
- Part of new campaign to attract cosmic tourists
This attention-grabbing approach aims to spread Lexington’s name through the stars and establish some cosmic branding in advance of future interstellar travelers who may wander Earth’s way. And while actual alien arrivals may be generations off, it creates buzz and cements Kentucky’s place in the space travel conversation.
Cosmic Marketing Campaign Hopes to Attract E.T. Visitors
The project was orchestrated by VisitLEX along with area astronomers, researchers, and business leaders looking to promote futuristic space tourism. Their lighthearted campaign intends to get ahead of the curve by extending a warm welcome to any extraterrestrial visitors even if they won’t show up anytime soon.
Details of the Interstellar Tourism Campaign:
- Created by VisitLEX tourism board
- Backed by University of Kentucky astronomers
- Focused on attracting far future alien visitors
- Promotes Kentucky sights - horses, bourbon, bluegrass music, caves, etc.
- Whimsical effort to generate cosmic branding
As part of this initiative, VisitLEX has created the Starport Kentucky site for learning about regional attractions that might entice an alien day-tripper like hiking through mammoth cave systems or sipping bourbons on the Urban Bourbon Trail. The site even offers a translation guide for common Earthling greetings.
While clearly far-fetched, campaign organizers say that being among the first to welcome cosmic tourists plants an important flag. As researcher Josh Colwell explains: “Merely to say ‘Hello’ as an astronomical community seems like the right thing to do.”  This meet-and-greet message sets the stage for a longer running dialogue even if responses require extreme patience.
Next Steps: Continuing the Conversation Across the Cosmos
With the first interstellar tweet now sent, scientists say the next phase involves repeating the laser pulse transmission towards HR 3089 periodically and expanding efforts across observatories worldwide. As more powerful beam technologies arise, stronger signals could broadcast to more distant regions perhaps increasing odds of getting noticed. Planetariums and visitor centers stand ready to help craft any return communiques.
Additionally, the tourism board seeks to prime would-be Earth ambassadors through some tongue-in-cheek training at the new Cosmic Coordinator crash course for properly welcoming alien visitors should they pop in one day. Lessons cover first contact protocols, interspecies etiquette, spaceship parking directions, and tips for avoiding any War of the Worlds-style conflicts.
Plans for Future Alien Outreach:
- Repeat laser pulse message to HR 3089 periodically
- Expand laser broadcast to more star systems
- Develop stronger signals as technology improves
- Prepare planetariums for receiving messages
- Hold visitor welcome training at Cosmic Coordinator courses
While attracting travelers from 40 light years away remains mostly hypothetical, it does stimulate forward-thinking exploration into spreading our story across the stars. As researcher Melvin says, “Maybe one day some off-world wanderer will stumble upon our message and think ‘Hmmm, let’s check out this Kentucky place – I could go for some bourbon after all those parsecs.‘” And even if we never get to give E.T. a bourbon barrel tour, this campaign brings astronomers, businesses, and the public together around our shared cosmic citizenship.
So as their laser fades out into the galactic depths for now, the messengers of Kentucky wait patiently for a signal back asking: “How do visitors from Tau Ceti book Derby tickets?“. And if answers require another 40 years for the beam to return to home base, VisitLEX just hopes their guests don’t mind that Jim Beam will no longer be the official bourbon sponsor.
- Fox News. “Kentucky city beckons space alien visitors, beaming laser invitation toward nearby star”
- Courier Journal. “Message beamed to space invites extraterrestrial tourists to Kentucky”
- Space.com. “SETI scientists send alien message in first interstellar tourism campaign”
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