Monday, December 22, 2008

That's Obscene!

The other day, I found out that the Pioneer Plaque, placed on the Pioneer spacecraft on the extremely remote chance that someone might find them, contains an image of a naked man and woman. That makes sense, I thought, I'd like any extra-terrestrials to know what we looked like. But apparently, this was actually "controversial" at the time, with people yelling that NASA was sending "obscenities" into space.

Holy God, people are crazy!


Jack said...

Lol. Yeah thats true. On the other hand to say the chances of someone finding the Pioneer are "extremely remote" is a HUGE understatement. Its statistically impossible. The probability distribution on an alien race finding it is so extreme that the closest word we have is "impossible". Given than, any worries about anyone seeing that plaque ever again are basically as crazy. That means the only reason to care whats on the plaque is symbolic- the plaque was important because it represents how we want the human race to be seen-- How we see ourselves. Thats why the fact that the man is waving and the woman isn't is actually kind of annoying (And also why the fact that aliens have no reason to see a hand wave as welcoming doesn't matter).

Besides, we better hope no one ever does find the Pioneer. We'll look pretty stupid not even knowing how many planets are in the solar system (remember Pluto?).

David Schraub said...

No. What is it, some sort of asteroid?