It would be hard enough these days to find a human capable of playing a 12-inch LP, let alone an alien. So perhaps it is time for
The agency announced earlier this month that its Voyager 1 probe has left the solar system, becoming the first object to enter interstellar space. On board is a gold-plated record from 1977.
It contains greetings in dozens of languages, sounds such as morse code, a tractor, a kiss, music – from Bach to
The New Horizons spacecraft will reach Pluto in 2015, then is expected to leave the solar system in about three decades. The New Horizons Message Initiative wants to create a crowd-sourced "human fingerprint" for extra-terrestrial consumption that can be digitally uploaded to the probe as its journey continues. The message could be modified to reflect changes on Earth as years go by.
With the backing of numerous space experts, Lomberg is orchestrating a petition and fundraising campaign. The first stage will firm up what can be sent in a format that would be easy for aliens to decode; the second will be the online crowd-sourcing of material.
Especially given the remote possibility that the message will ever be read, Lomberg emphasises the benefits to earthlings of starting a debate about how we should introduce ourselves to interplanetary strangers.
"The Voyager record was our best foot forward. We just talked about what we were like on a good day ... no wars or famine. It was a sanitised portrait. Should we go warts and all? That is a legitimate discussion that needs to be had," he said.
"The previous messages were decided by elite groups ... Everybody is equally entitled and qualified to do it. If you're a human on Earth you have a right to decide how you're presented."
"Astronauts have said that you step off the Earth and look back and you see things differently. Looking at yourself with a different perspective is always useful. The Golden Record has had a tremendous effect in terms of making people think about the culture in ways they wouldn't normally do."
Buoyed by the Voyager news, scientists gathered in
"I think it's an incredible boost. I think it makes it much more plausible," said Dr
Most Popular Stories
- 15 Myths That Could Ruin Your Hispanic Ad Campaign
- Bitcoin Clones Lurch Onto Financial Scene
- General Motors Names Mary Barra as First Female CEO
- AIG to Create 230 Jobs in Charlotte
- Clinton to Keynote Annual Simmons Leadership Conference
- How Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Work
- Californians Want to Legalize Marijuana
- Pacific Trade Pact Delay Hinders U.S. Pivot to Asia
- Russia Says Nyet to Canada North Pole Claim
- Budget Deal Sets Off Grumbles in Both Houses