and a wonderful message to ET
“In 1977, the writer Ann Druyan had an EEG done for the project. She closed her eyes and thought fondly of the man with whom she’d recently fallen in love – the project’s leader, Sagan himself. When she turned the resulting brain scan into audio, it sounded like a string of pop rockets going off. She took the recording, added to it audio of her heartbeat, and engraved those sounds on a record. It would have eventually made a great wedding present for Sagan, except that this wasn’t just any record. It was a ‘Golden Record’, one of only two copies that would eventually travel to the stars aboard the twin Voyager spacecraft,” Sarah Scoles, Mixed Messages, aeon.co/magazine, Jan 2015.
The Sounds of Earth Record Cover, NASA/Wikimedia
The other thing to add perhaps would be a diagram time stamping the record in a way that ET could decipher. The Julian calendar showing, say, the date the first Voyager spacecraft took off (Sept 5, 1977) would not mean much to a resident of the core of our Milky Way galaxy. Cosmologist Carl Sagan knew that so he devised a simple (for him) interstellar time stamping system for the 1972 launch of Pioneer.
Here’s how Sarah describes it–
“… lines of different lengths and orientations intersect to show Earth’s location relative to 14 pulsars. Over it all looms a graphic showing hydrogen’s ‘hyperfine transition’: the simplest atom radiates a radio wave of 1420.41 MHz. Space fairly buzzes at this frequency. The 14 pulsars’ spin periods are written out in binary, defined by their ratio relationship to 1420.41 MHz. Because pulsars slow down a little bit every second, there is only one time in history when they would spin at this speed, and only one place – Earth – from which they would appear in these particular directions. The map encompasses nearly half the galaxy, and its time stamps will remain useful for billions of years. The engravings place our species within a massive slice of space and time.”
Oh Happy Day
Read more by Sarah Scoles, Mixed Messages, Our latest message to ET could be full of LOLcats and celebs. We should try to do better, or keep quiet altogether, http://aeon.co/magazine/technology/what-our-messages-to-et-say-about-us/
@ quantum_entity @ profbruce
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