Our messages in the bottle; Gold Plates Sent To Space

With the projects of gold and aluminum plaques placed in spacecraft led by Carl Sagan, our efforts to make our voices heard in other worlds have already started. So, how are these efforts? We mention this in our article.
We cannot prevent this thought from enchanting us. How wonderful it would be to communicate with them in some way, to know for sure that we are not alone, or to make our voices heard, isn't it? For some, it is, but according to some scientists such as Stephen Hawking, the idea of making our voices heard outside of the world is not seen as a logical move considering the risks.

However, some scientists have made important studies by adopting this. As a matter of fact, our efforts to make our voices heard in other worlds have already started with the projects of gold and aluminum plaques placed in spacecraft led by Carl Sagan.
How Did The Golden Plaques Idea Come From?
In 1971, NASA launched the Pioneer Program to address our ignorance of exoplanets. The Pioneer Program included the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 spacecraft. Before the Pioneer 10 vehicle was launched from the Cape Kennedy base on March 3, 1972, the idea of ​​attaching a message on the vehicle came to mind of US astronomer Carl Sagan. Because after the Pioneer 10 spacecraft investigated Jupiter, it was expected to be blown out of the Solar system by gravitational force.

According to Sagan, a message to be placed on this interstellar journey would be very valuable for a possible alien civilization. However, the Pioneer 10 spacecraft was not advancing towards any star. The vehicle would travel near the Hunter and Taurus Constellations into a void with no objects.

Any message from an alien civilization would only take place if they had received the message after they detected the vehicle passing by their relatives. Carl Sagan likens this to the fact that a casualty in the ocean sends a compass to a random place in the ocean in a bottle.
The message you see in the image below was designed by Carl Sagan and his painter wife Linda Salzman. The aim was to introduce ourselves and our planet to the aliens, to tell where we are. Therefore, it is difficult to say that the message has a side that can be easily understood except for male and female figures.

This message, which contains quite complex but also simple messages, was engraved on a 15 x 23 cm gold plated aluminum plate and placed on the antenna carriers of Pioneer 10. (The same message was placed on Pioneer 11, which was considered the twin of Pioneer 10 in 1973.) The message was assumed to remain healthy for hundreds of millions of years, as it was thought to wear less in space than Earth.
Let's look briefly at the content of the message and what it says. The barbell-like shape on the upper left of the message represents the transition between the parallel and anti-parallel proton and electron turns of the neutral hydrogen atom. Hydrogen was preferred to be shown schematically because it is the most abundant element in the universe. Under the shape in which the hydrogen atom is represented, the strangely scattering structure shows the distance and rotation frequency (turn time) of the Solar system compared to 14 pulses in the binary system.
Just below that, you should have easily understood that the Solar system is represented and the starting point of the spacecraft is shown. Let's also say that this scheme overrides as a result of the change of the direction of Pioneer 11. The signs above and below the planets show the distances of the planets from the Sun.

We can easily say that the most striking form among all these messages and representations is male and female figures. If the aliens find it, it will probably be the most surprising and interesting part of the message for them too. This painting was inspired by the Greek sculptures of Carl Sagan's wife Linda Salzman and the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. However, Sagan and his wife Salzman received a lot of negative criticism from feminists, homosexuals, soldiers and artists rather than positive comments due to this drawing.

For example, in response to drawing the man as if he was neglecting the woman, Carl Sagan said that if men and women figures were drawn hand in hand or very closely, aliens might think that men and women are a single organism. As the reason why men and women are not drawn in the same posture, Sagan was saying that the leg was a flexible structure or that he wanted to tell the aliens that the arms could bend. Letters of criticism came from feminists to the man's salute in the air. However, Sagan had said that the fact that both hands are standing in the air can cause aliens to understand people as creatures that constantly move hands in the air. Instead of these figures, a pair of prayers had to be drawn from the religionists who advocated that there should be drawn, and criticism from everybody and everybody had fallen until the woman's external genitalia was not drawn. Of course, there was no one who did not support Sagan. As well as the discussion of whether the content of the message was correct or not, what the meaning of the message meant to us people started to be discussed. We would like to include the sentences of the New York Times, which Carl Sagan sees as the most meaningful comment for the message:

“Despite the unknown laws of the sky, man can send messages to the stars, but we are still unable to dominate their systems on Earth. While seeking remedies to prevent man from destroying his own planet with nuclear power one day, an increasingly loud choir says he can consume this planet by overproducting or using resources improperly. So the message thrown into space is also a warning to Earth. The gold-plated plate should be able to give a message from the people who still exist; not from people who once lived. ”
Just a few years after these words, in 1977, NASA would launch the Voyager Program to investigate the outer Solar system as a continuation of the Pioneer Program. As with Pioneer vehicles, it is known that Voyager vehicles will go on interstellar journey after researching the outer Solar system, Carl Sagan wanted to repeat what he had done before. Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 would also have gold plaques, but these new ones would be the top models of Pioneer plaques. Carl Sagan set up a large committee for the content of plaques, and 115 photos were placed inside the plaque, including the planets in the Solar system, our Earth, our body and body structure, our DNA, newborn babies, families, animals, trees, leaves, insects.

In addition, the record included 39 thunder, wind, whale, bird, and wave sounds as well as messages of greetings to aliens in 55 languages. The greeting message recorded in Turkish; "Dear Turkish friends, good morning, good sheriff." 22 music was added to the plate.
As you can see in the photo on the cover of the plate placed in the voyagers, there is a pulsar map that was also drawn to Pioneer vehicles. At the bottom right, you can see the hydrogen atom, which is also featured in Pioneer vehicles. The drawings on the Pulsar map and on the right of the plate describe how to operate the plate. Male and female figures were not allowed as a result of intense criticism. The plate made of gold-plated copper is covered with Uranium-238, the half-life of which is 4.46 billion years.

Voyager 1 is moving towards the Giraffe constellation today, and after about 40,000 years, it will be as close as 1.5 light years to the Gliese 445 star. 40,000 years may seem a very distant future compared to human life, but on a global scale 40,000 years are only a "moment". If we compare 40,000 years with the longevity of gold plaques, it is not unlikely that any alien civilization will find plaque.

Imagine the moment when an advanced alien civilization managed to find and run the plaque, listening to our voices and looking at our photos. Or, if we received such a message from a civilization that we knew existed far away from the universe, thanks to the message they sent thousands or even millions of years ago, what would we do? What would humanity think and feel? What would the "those" people feel, whose aim was to temporarily dominate a grain of dust, as Carl Sagan describes? As humanity, could we understand that the Earth was both very small and very large at the same time and that we were both very valuable and very worthless at the same time? Perhaps, indeed, golden plaques are meaningful messages that we send to ourselves, rather than a message that is blown away in the endless space ocean.
“Now the new ship of mankind,
Infinite goes to the unknown,
Naked, at star speed, beyond years,
Hand in hand, beyond the border and alone.
Go, little representative of our kind,
if you can reach it, to a remote port. ”

Aim Morhardt
Golden Messenger


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