Sunday, April 19, 2009

Howdy Mr. Alien... Have You Ever Tried Grilled Cheese?

As an aspiring science fiction author, I read a lot of science and science related materials. Although I am firmly a layperson in all matters science I have a fascination and appreciation for it that is pretty powerful. Science, my hat is off to you good sir. Thanks for cell phones, the internet and the eradication of polio (although I'm not entirely thrilled with nuclear weapons and killer bees).

So the folks over at New Scientist magazine have put together a short look at what was actually on the voyager probes that NASA sent off into the depths of space back in the seventies.

In case anyone doesn't know, the Voyager missions (after the Pioneer missions a few years earlier) were intended to photograph the outer planets - and afterward they were just supposed to keep going.

And like the energizer bunny, they are. 32 years later they are still traveling at 40,000 mph deeper into the blackness of space.

After thinking that some aliens may stumble upon one of our spacecraft at some point in the far future as our beloved voyagers enter into a new solar system, the great Carl Sagan helped in designing a small multimedia device that would serve as a simple "hello" from the people of earth.

The amount of storage date available at the time was pretty limited. A handful of pictures and data that has to teach any would be life-forms the basics of earth, language, humanity and whatever else they need to know to get a good idea of who and what we are. No small task.

So Carl and the gang produced a gold record of what they thought was important for the denizens of the galaxy to know about us. So what was on this mysterious golden record?

That's right, a bald guy eating grilled cheese, a young girl treating an ice cream cone, er, inappropriately, and of course, Stevie Wonder.

Wow. No wonder aliens are always hell bent on destroying us when they show up in the movies, look at the crap we are inundating them with. At least the stuff we transmit from earth is on accident, we did this on purpose.

I weep for us all.

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