Humans think they want to communicate with distant life forms, out there in the great wide open, but, being humans, they don’t always go about it in the best of all possible worlds.
The NASA spacecrafts Voyager I and Voyager II were famously equipped with “Golden Records” that sought to present to extraterrestrial beings the nature and meaning of what it means to be human. The Records project was supervised by Carl Sagan, a scientist and a Real person. So, it had promise. But, things being what they are, Sagan’s work was mucked with by people so primitive and embarrassing they should probably be preserved in jars. Thus, the Records were prevented from presenting nude photographs of men and women. Because pee-pees and wee-wees are Nasty. And so extraterrestrials who encounter these objects will be led to believe that humans are but silhouettes. Further, and due to the exigencies of mammalian politics, the Records included a few words recorded by Kurt Waldheim, a Nazi.
We know from the 1984 documentary film Starman that one of the Voyager craft was encountered by higher life-forms somewhere out around Pluto, and as a result an extraterrestrial ambassador answered the Records’ summons to come visit Earth.
Alas, things did not go well. As the Starman documentary records, once the United States government learned the E.T. had come calling, it decided the thing to do was to capture him, and then cut him up, like a frog in a sophomore biology class. He managed to escape this fate, and return to life off-world, leaving behind an Earth woman impregnated with star seed; an attempt to hopefully goose humans speedier towards species sanity. As the film clip at the end of this post notes, the Starman extraterrestrial being was an anthropologist, and so was perhaps accustomed to, or at least prepared for, the sort of nonsense he encountered on this planet.
Meanwhile, an international team of humans recently compiled a list of various moons and planets which it believes to be most likely to harbor intelligent extraterrestrial life. Among these is Gliese 581g, a planet located about 20.5 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Libra.
However, and as will be seen beyond the “furthur,” another crew of humans had previously dispatched communications to Gliese that may encourage any intelligent beings there to regard Earth as a place that should be obliterated, rather than encountered.
In a piece titled “Exoplanet Ranking Suggests Interstellar War Imminent,” the folks at The Register record the sad facts of the wedge that has probably been irretrievably driven between the peoples of Gliese 581g, and the peoples of Earth.
[A]s regular readers of Reg exoplanet coverage will know—should there be intelligent aliens at Gliese 581 they will soon have an intense and well-justified grievance against us.
This is because back in 2008 the management of the doomed teenybopper social-networking portal Bebo, for reasons which seemed good to them at the time, collected a huge and infamous compilation of web-2.0 content from their site’s users, addressed at possible aliens resident at Gliese 581. They then hired the unscrupulous Russian astronomer Alexander Zaitsev to beam this horrendous guff-blast at the red star from a powerful Ukraininan radar telescope.
Sample comments offered as humanity’s possible first messages to a powerful and sophisticated alien culture:
Our bodies are made of bones . . . We have senses. Smell, Taste, Sight and Touch. Without any of these things, we wouldn’t live.
I love Television. We watch animated cartoons and real-life drama on it. I could sit and watch Television all day.
Hi im nicole . . . someday i would love to appear on the west end stage, in a hit show.i also wouldnt mind doing a few television programs whether it is as a extra or a main part i dont mind i would love to appear on doctor who as i love it. anyway laters.Nicole x
All these, and many other foulnesses such as pictures of cats, boy crooners, amusing vegetables etc, are on their way unstoppably towards Gliese 581 and will arrive at that star system in March 2029. Even if the aliens have not yet developed star travel, planet- or sun-smasher missiles, world-volatilising krenon rays etc, this will surely be a powerful spur to the development and instant employment of such weapons against the civilisation which could, unprovoked, commit such an interstellar solecism.
Truly these are worrying times.
That they are.