Source AP ©

Pictures of new seven world wonders to be send into outer space

The founder of the global poll that nominated the new seven wonders of the world now plans to immortalize the monuments by shooting 3D photos into outer space.

The new seven wonders of the world - which include India's Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and Rome's Colosseum - were announced two weeks ago after a voting campaign conducted by the nonprofit organization New7Wonders.

"I think it would be worthwhile to conserve this memory at the beginning of the third millennium in the best possible way and make sure that even if the world gets destroyed, it will be retained somewhere," said Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber, who launched the campaign in 1999.

Weber said he plans to send three-dimensional photo data burned onto a golden compact disk or an i-Pod - or whatever the latest method of storing the data may be - into outer space.

He said the disk might be fired into space by a rocket, but did not give details on how or when this will happen. The idea is to have it floating in space so that it could be discovered if one day the Earth no longer exists, he said.

"As a first step we plan to have three-dimensional photographic measurements taken (of the seven wonders) so that we can preserve them forever," he told The Associated Press in an interview. "Of course, it's a bit of a crazy idea, but I think it will inspire people."

Over 100 million people from around the world voted by Internet and cell phone text messages to chose the most popular landmarks from a list of 20 final candidates. The other new wonders are Peru's Machu Picchu, Brazil's Statue of Christ Redeemer, the rock city of Petra in Jordan, and Mexico's Chichen Itza pyramid.

The pyramids of Giza, the only surviving structures from the original seven wonders of the ancient world, retained their status in addition to the new seven after indignant Egyptian officials said it was a disgrace they had to compete.

Weber said the campaign will now continue with the nomination of the seven natural wonders, and then seven technical wonders. Examples of natural wonders could include the Grand Canyon in the United States, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania or the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Technical wonders could range from the Internet to engineering feats such as the Brooklyn Bridge.

Weber's Switzerland-based foundation aims to promote cultural diversity by supporting, preserving and restoring monuments. It relies on private donations and also made money selling broadcasting rights for the seven wonders announcement ceremony in Lisbon.

The foundation also helped set up a project to reconstruct the gigantic Buddha statues at Bamiyan, Afghanistan, by donating funds to build a three-dimensional model of the statues, said Weber.

The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO - which keeps a list of World Heritage Sites, now totaling 851 monuments - helped determine the criteria for site nominations in the early stages of the project.

But Weber said it later distanced itself from the venture because UNESCO statutes prevented it from campaigning and expressing preference to any monuments.

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