Message in a Bottle (08 Sep 2007)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
pacfandave
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Message in a Bottle (08 Sep 2007)

Post by pacfandave » Sat Sep 08, 2007 10:52 am

Perhaps we should have sent along a phonograph with the discs attached to Voyager. Now a mere few light hours away from the planet, those discs were obsolete before they left the Solar System.

texgeekboy
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Post by texgeekboy » Sat Sep 08, 2007 3:27 pm

What I don't understand is that the phonograph record doesn't have a hole in the middle.

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Post by craterchains » Sat Sep 08, 2007 3:29 pm

Hi pacfandave, and welcome to the APOD forum,
I too look back on this old S.E.T.I. project to attempt "contact" with other sentient intelligent life forms that may be out there with a bit of disdain. Or was it the united states department of defense? :roll:
It is best if you put a link to the APOD yo are discussing though. Just a friendly reminder.

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap070908.html

Norval
"It's not what you know, or don't know, but what you know that isn't so that will hurt you." Will Rodgers 1938

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Re: Message in a Bottle

Post by toejam » Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:05 pm

pacfandave wrote:Perhaps we should have sent along a phonograph with the discs attached to Voyager. Now a mere few light hours away from the planet, those discs were obsolete before they left the Solar System.
It will mystify any eventual discoverers much as the famous Bush Barrow gold "lozenge" has mystified archeologists:-

http://www.stone-circles.org.uk/stone/normantondown.htm

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Qev
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Post by Qev » Sun Sep 09, 2007 4:57 am

craterchains wrote:I too look back on this old S.E.T.I. project to attempt "contact" with other sentient intelligent life forms that may be out there with a bit of disdain.
I don't know... I think the attempt has a certain charming naïveté to it, myself. :)
Don't just stand there, get that other dog!

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BMAONE23
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Post by BMAONE23 » Sun Sep 09, 2007 6:20 am

I think that the method we are using to look for others is incorrect though. Radio??? This is a very limited means of communication and as slow as snail mail. If/when we find a method of communication faster than light, we will then start picking up all sorts of traffic.

This may be found if we can locate/access a dimension where current physical laws do not apply

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Post by craterchains » Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:28 am

There are other methods, , , and there is FTL communication potential being worked on as we post even. :?
"It's not what you know, or don't know, but what you know that isn't so that will hurt you." Will Rodgers 1938

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JohnD
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Post by JohnD » Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:18 am

Disdain?
OK, what other artifact would you have sent?

Print on gold leaf? How do you provide an alien with a Rosetta Stone to read it?
Floppy discs? Those are already obsolete on Earth, and radiation would have blanked them by now, I should think. Same for chip memory.
CD-ROM? More complex technology than the V.discs and less robust. How many CDs do you have that don't work any more?
The last two were not invented then.
And radio? - the whole point was to put information on the probe.

This was Sagan's project, and he was no fool. Romantic enough to push this through, but hardheaded with it.
JOhn

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Post by craterchains » Mon Sep 10, 2007 3:34 am

Dope it out big guy, , , chuckles and :lol:

I would have sent "nothing". 8)
"It's not what you know, or don't know, but what you know that isn't so that will hurt you." Will Rodgers 1938

impaler
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Message in a Bottle

Post by impaler » Mon Sep 10, 2007 3:39 am

Howdy,
I believe this is a terrible idea. http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap070908.html If a hostile entity with the capability to reach us gets the record we might be in deep do do. Conversely if benevolent they could in part great knowledge.
Regards,
impaler

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iamlucky13
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Post by iamlucky13 » Mon Sep 10, 2007 11:38 pm

The topic of the Voyager golden records always brings up some interesting and imaginative comments. I think it's pretty darn cool. :D

Really, I think the odds of it ever being found by someone other than us are vanishingly small. Neither Voyager will reach another star for thousands of years, and radio searches have been made in their directions of travel found nothing (as expected). In the end, it's a PR stunt and an academic exercise, but it's a fun one. Or as JohnD said, it's Sagan being romantic.

Interestingly, they essentially did send along a phonograph for an advanced civilization to play it on. Probably more useful in fact. Here's a graphic explaining the heiroglyphs on the front cover:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... rCover.jpg

In addition to a very fundamentally-derived instructions for a phonograph, NASA included a phonograph needle on the spacecraft.

Imagine NASA finding something like this in space. After establishing that it really was extra-terrestrial, they'd be pretty careful to study it in detail as non-destructively as possible. The golden record would stand out because engineers would quickly recognize that it serves no discernible purpose. Because of our vast usage of time-based signals, once we realized there was a deliberately cut groove in the disc it would be obvious it contained some kind of signal. Any civillization that communicates in a remotely similar way should be able to realize the same. From there it would take a bit of ingenuity to figure out what it was.

Presumably, someone would be smart enough to recognize the included phonograph needle as an instrument for measuring the profile of the grooves. The drawing of the needle on the cover provides a link between it and the information there. After building their own reading device, the next big challenge is getting the timing right.

The hydrogen atom illustration gives the timing, but I'm not sure, even with the consistent use of the binary markings, that the link between the atom and the timing is obvious, or even that the lower right illustration represents hydrogen atoms.

However, one of the data images stored on the disc is a circle. I think the odds would be pretty good that looking at the signal, some confused scientist would notice the nearly regular spacing of signal peaks. That sets the stage for discovering the spacing of those peaks is definied by the chord length of a circle at regular intervals...which would be hard to interpret as coincidence. In this way you could independently determine the rate to turn the record.

From there, the rest of the images should be obvious, but I don't know if the audio recordings would be. Someone would have to recognize that their sound levels rather than image data. And the written information, in a completely foreign language, would also be a kind of Rosetta Stone.

Finding earth from this requires having already figured out the timing (and the link between that and the hydrogen time-unit). From there, we'd have to recognize that frequencies were pulsars. I think it'd take a stroke of pure brilliance to recognize that, but if someone did, it would be obvious from the drawing that the spatial orientation of those pulsars was something of significance.

Here's a really interesting page with the contents of the record, including the images and wav files of the sounds:
http://re-lab.net/welcome/
"Any man whose errors take ten years to correct is quite a man." ~J. Robert Oppenheimer (speaking about Albert Einstein)

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Case
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Post by Case » Tue Sep 11, 2007 1:19 am

I guess the hydrogen atom and the 14 pulsars we the only items that could stand the test of 5 years time between Pioneer and Voyager.

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iamlucky13
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Post by iamlucky13 » Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:21 am

There's more to it than that. The Pioneer plaque was kind of a cursory thought at interstellar communication. The Voyager record had quite a bit more put into it by Sagan, Drake (of Drake equation fame), and others and actually has all the same information of the Pioneer plaque, except a drawing of the spacecraft itself.

The images actually stored on the Voyager disc (as opposed to etched on the cover) show things like human anatomy, the arrangement of the solar system, and examples of human activity.
"Any man whose errors take ten years to correct is quite a man." ~J. Robert Oppenheimer (speaking about Albert Einstein)