Virgin Mobile has announced the launch of its "Texts into Space" service which "allows people to send their text declarations of love and affection into the unchartered territories of space where they will travel through the cosmos for all eternity".

Launching in time for Christmas, the texts are transmitted via a satellite Earth Station in Cornwall by

Virgin says: "Once sent you can ensure your message will live on eternally, a concept that will surely touch the recipients heart" - or make them slightly nauseous, depending on the amount of schmaltzy sentiment they can bear.

The text into space costs the price of a normal text and can be sent from any mobile phone by texting the desired message to 80995 - then - for £9.95, the message recipient will receive a formal "Certificate of Transmission" confirming the launch of the eternal message and details of how to track the message on the website as it continues to travel through time and space.