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Thread: Why a map to earth on Voyager?

  1. #1 Why a map to earth on Voyager? 
    Forum Freshman Lightingbird's Avatar
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    Now I've always known this...

    Why a map to earth on the voyager???

    I was watching a show on the national geographic channel about the voyager. They explained how Steven hawking was really against putting a map to earth on the voyager. So I started thinking... Why would you do that?

    We don't have any effective real space vessels.

    We don't have any real defensive space devices.

    We don't have a unified planet.

    Yes, I'm thinking of the possible part of an aggressive race finding the probe. I get that I'm no scientist and I donít work for NASA. So I'm sure some experts or people here can school me on things regarding this. But I stand fast to one belief.

    None of us know anything about whets out in space. There could be utterly no life in space, scattered life, or a teeming galaxy of several clusters of life. Assumption aside, none of us really know. So I guess, I'm wondering...

    How do you feel about this?


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  3. #2  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
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    Tss, why so afraid? Always fearing the worst? It is meant as a message for possible alien scientists to pinpoint the location of a habitable planet. Voyager is so slow, though, that nothing will probably be left of the human civilisation when it will be discovered. Wouldn't it be cool, if we would find such a message from another civilisation? On the other hand, the chances are so remote that it should largely be regarded as a NASA PR trick. It worked for you.


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  4. #3  
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    Anyone close enough to have an interest in destroying/invading/whatever humanity could probably find us from all out radio noise long before the voyager probe gets anywhere near another star system.
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  5. #4  
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    At 100,000 mph it'll take a space craft about 30,000 years to reach even the nearest star at just 4.3 light years. By time it is finally discovered, maybe millions of years from now, effectively Voyager just says where the space craft came from and the kind of beings that launched it.
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  6. #5  
    Moderator Moderator Janus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyberia
    At 100,000 mph it'll take a space craft about 30,000 years to reach even the nearest star at just 4.3 light years. By time it is finally discovered, maybe millions of years from now, effectively Voyager just says where the space craft came from and the kind of beings that launched it.
    Or put another way, by the time Voyager could be discovered by a space-going race, we will either be long extinct or a space-going race ourselves (and quite likely the ones that find Voyager; after all, we already would know where to look).
    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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  7. #6  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Carl Sagan was an optimist.
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  8. #7  
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    Marvel Comics in the late sixties had a character sent on a thousand year suspended animation voyage to the nearest star. Within a few hundred years, Earth had discovered FTL flight and were waiting for him there when he finally arrived several centuries later.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Freshman Lightingbird's Avatar
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    My concern is just that concern. Considering how big all of that space can be. Sure It's easy to assume that noone will discover it for many years. Although, we have no idea if there are other races in space. Much less if they are much more advanced than us.

    It just seemed like a really bad idea. Unless it was some form of a PR event by nasa. Which doesnt really make much sense.
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  10. #9  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lightingbird
    My concern is just that concern. Considering how big all of that space can be. Sure It's easy to assume that noone will discover it for many years. Although, we have no idea if there are other races in space. Much less if they are much more advanced than us.

    It just seemed like a really bad idea. Unless it was some form of a PR event by nasa. Which doesnt really make much sense.
    If I could build a space probe in my back yard and send it up without anyone noticing, I would include such a map as well, regardless of the chances of any race ever finding it or being able to act on it. So NASA got some PR, but what is wrong with that? Basically, why not include a map? Just think about the possibilities! That little low-tech probe has our stamp on it. I think that is pretty cool. :-D
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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  11. #10  
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    I will say this one time and maintain it until convinced otherwise:

    Any race that is scientifically advanced enough to get to us will likely send a probe, not a fleet of warships. Even if they decided to attack, there would be quite a bit of lag time. Likely though, they'd understand the impracticality of interstellar travel and just say "fuck it".
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  12. #11  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    Likely though, they'd understand the impracticality of interstellar travel and just say "**** it".
    What if interstellar travel is not impractical to a civilisation in advance of us by thousands, or even millions of years? I am reminded that Lord Kelvin opposed the idea of a very old Earth because of calcualtions he had made about the rate of cooling from a molten state. The discovery of radioactivity invalidated those calculations.
    Today we believe more than 80% of the material of the Universe is composed of 'dark matter', yet we have never 'seen' it, nor do we understand its properties. Interstellar travel may be easy for our own civilisation three millenia from now, so why not for others?
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  13. #12  
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    At least we didn't indicate Earth with an arrow symbol. Consider what an arrow is.

    Our intentionally peaceful/neutral transmissions probably do betray much more about us than we realize. OTOH if this is like a poker game then metagaming to the extreme kinda fizzles itself and is no better than just playing dumb. I think. :?

    Frankly I think that since we are life our business is to eat & excrete, if possible, whatever we contact. ET should be no different. It's nothing personal, just a law of life.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  14. #13  
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    You are assuming that ET life is similar (to some degree) to ours. Ever read The Andromeda Strain or Prey by Michael Crichton? ET life could be gold-based instead of carbon-based for all we know. It could have a lifespan of one-trillion of our years. Just like we can't notice something that lasts for a millionth of a second, maybe they can't notice something unless it lasts a million years?

    There is no point in speculating about ET life because we will in all likely hood be completely wrong.[/u]
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