From the children of planet Earth / Von den Kindern des Planeten Erde / Dos filhos do planeta Terra / De los hijos del planeta Tierra

Earth is destroying itself. Help us! Please help! Send better knowledge.

Taken from a bulletin board where kids were invited to post messages they want to convey to aliens. Several of them were pleas for help. This child’s missive was especially poignant.

Scientists are the smartest astronomers and physicists in the World. But they need help with their next big project – sending a message to aliens – and for that, they are turning to kids.

Designing messages to aliens is a tricky business. How do you write a message that an alien intelligence will be able to understand?

Should you avoid including sensitive information about humanity, in case that this emboldens aliens to come to our planet and annihilate our species?

Should you avoid transmitting messages into outer space altogether? Just alerting aliens to our existence is risky?

If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which did not turn out well for the Native Americans. – Stephen Hawking

Communicating with extraterrestrials could pose a catastrophic risk to humanity. In fact, if we send out a message and it is received by less-than-friendly aliens, that could pose an existential threat not only to the Human species but to every species on Earth.

Probably the most famous communication attempt, the Voyager Golden Records were contained inside the two Voyager probes launched in 1977. The contents were selected by Carl Sagan and a committee he helmed.

The records contain instructions on how they should be played. If aliens get past that step, they will be greeted by the sounds of planet Earth, like wind, thunder, and whale and bird song.

They will also hear spoken greetings in 55 different languages, music from different cultures, footsteps, and Sagan’s laughter.

The Golden Records also contain instructions for how to produce images from their contents. These depict people eating, planets in our solar system, locations on Earth, animals, insects, Human evolution and physiology, and chemistry-related images.

The most interesting component, though, is the hour-long recording of a Human‘s brainwaves; specifically, Sagan’s wife, Ann Druyan.

While her brain was being recorded, Druyan thought of a variety of topics, like Earth‘s history and – having just gotten engaged to Carl Sagan – the experience of falling in Love.

The Voyager probes were primarily meant to observe our solar system as they passed through, but they will be floating through space for quite some time.

Maybe some aliens will have the opportunity to see how Druyan felt about falling in Love or hear the many sounds from Earth we included.

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