New messages from the “Tiny Blue Dot”
I’m sure many of you have heard the announcement this week that NASA believes we will find alien life by 2025. Before we get all excited I should point out that they were quick to say “microbes” and not little green men. I am overwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, microbes are cool and all but they are not intelligent sentient beings.
Hollywood is quick to stereotype potential alien contact into 2 categories friendly ones like ET and bad ones who want to take over our planet in say Independence Day. What If they were somewhere in the middle though? What if they didn’t mean us harm but weren’t necessarily willing to put up with humanities bullshit because we like to think we are kings of the universe?
Unless you live in box or are completely ignorant NASA sent a probe out into space in September of 1977. The mission of this probe was to study and photograph our solar system and eventually interstellar space. That probe was called Voyager 1 and Voyager followed a few months after. Voyager was more than a probe though— it was a message. Probably the most message this planet will ever send into the great cosmic abyss.
That message was stored on a golden record. For you kids who don’t know what a record is (aka a vinyl disk) click here. On this record are instructions on how to play it and scientists believe any intelligent life would know how to play it; so not geared toward microbes. This golden record contains important things that scientists headed by Carl Sagan thought alien life needed to know about humanity in sounds, greetings, music and pictures (at least up to the mid 70’s). You can see and hear Mr Sagan talk about the record here.
But, let’s say we were going to send a new record of humanity into interstellar space; a place far beyond the present limits of man. Let’s say it has information SINCE 1977. What should we include? What should we not include? If this were left up to everyday people and not scientists and politicians what would we choose. What if every day average people could pick 3?
Ever since I watched the new Cosmos: A Space-time Odyssey with Astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson the idea has been rolling around in my head. I watched the original with Carl Sagan 10 years after if first aired in 1980 but was far too young to grasp the enormity of the information. Now at 36 I think I can venture a guess on what I would send
So here are my 3 picks. Please feel free to share and respond with your own. (No explanations as to why you picked though)
- Sounds from a Michigan thunder storm.
- My sons laugh when he was 8 months old.
- The waves crashing on the rocks at Cape Lookout State Park in Oregon