E.T. text home


One of my colleagues mentioned today that NASA’s Voyager 2 probe has been beaming unintelligible code back to Earth since May 6.

My heart raced as I recalled the plot line from Contact. “Has anyone tried to break the code?” I asked. “Naw,” said Taco. “They just turned it off.”

Yup, you read that right: The folks at NASA decided that the code must be a malfunction, so they’ve turned off the transmissions. All we’re getting from Voyager 2 is health and status reports.

That would be like sending Christiane Amanpour into the Iceland volcano, and then asking only what she ate on the plane.

Maybe it’s just as well. Just a couple of weeks ago, Stephen Hawking warned against talking to extraterrestrial strangers.

I can’t help but wonder: Maybe it’s already too late?

If so, it’s a shame that their first impression of us will be an outdated gold LP. At least we didn’t send an 8-Track tape, I guess …

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