Re: send yer name to mars! (fwd)

Rohit Khare (
Thu, 12 Feb 1998 02:08:15 -0800

As if!

Yeah, Martians are going to get out this pitted, rotting polycarbonate disc
whose polymers have melted into god-knows-what after a few millennia of UV;
recover the aluminum information layer; figure out he physical track layout;
the CD-level error correcting code; the ISO CDROM datastream standards; DOS
(or Mac with Rock Ridge) filesystem layout; ASCII; and then, for what? a
completely unstructured, entropic, waste of space, viz. kid's names.

Feh. Give me a Rosetta Stone...

I hear they tried this stunt on Gallileo, too: a CDROM of eath images, sounds,
etc. Now the aliens have to invent JPEG and MPEG too. Real likely....

Who comes up with this junk at the PR office?

Pioneer and Voyager got it right! Anodized gold plate, analog waveform
recording (i.e. an LP) and a picture of man, woman, and the solar system which
can be decoded starting from the ~1400MHz radiation frequency of the first
energy gap of hydrogen. This was my second favorite exhibit in the entire
Boston Museum of Science (not just because it was spearheaded by my uncle's
colleague Carl Sagan, either :-)


PS. #1 was a wall of pulleys, transmissions, levers, and all kinds of
industrial age hacks you could animate with a push button. As a software
person you never learned what kinds of linkages make hardware go...