It’s an awesome concept – a probe sent from Earth into the Milky Way with messages of peace for any alien life that may be encountered outside our solar system.

The little probe that could. Picture: NASA

We sent them love songs and concertos and messages of peace as a demonstration of humanity. We sent them a demonstration of humanity at its highest – our moments of brilliance, of unity and of selflessness.

Last week, the Voyager celebrated its 35th anniversary of its launch to explore Saturn and Jupiter. Now, it is at the cusp of our solar system, on the brink of exiting the celestial realm that we are familiar with and launching into interstellar territory.

This, in and of itself, is quite extraordinary. With equipment developed in 1977 (that’s before home computers, CD-ROMS and disposable cameras) we have examined the 10,000 strands that comprise Saturn’s rings, its moon Titan and the rings of Uranus which are so dark they are almost imperceptible.

Now, we are approaching the heliopause and the creativity and science of the human race is further out into space than ever before.

The message sent on by the United Nations reads: “As the Secretary General of the United Nations, an organizations of the 147 member states who represent almost all of the human inhabitants of the planet earth. I send greetings on behalf of the people of our planet. We step out of our solar system into the universe seeking only peace and friendship, to teach if we are called upon, to be taught if we are fortunate. We know full well that our planet and all its inhabitants are but a small part of the immense universe that surrounds us and it is with humility and hope that we take this step.”

It is a beautiful sentiment; but it also devastating in its irony. To talk of teaching when we, as a species, are driving the extinction of species and destruction of their environment faster than new species can evolve leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.  We are currently in the midst of our Earth’s sixth known spate of mass extinction. However, unlike those in the past driven by asteroid strikes and volcanic eruptions; in the last 1000 years we’ve managed to obliterate 500 species (and that figure does not come near the total considering all those lost before their discovery and classification by scientists) through the destruction of habitats, introduction of foreign species and anthropogenic climate change.

It’s a message that talks of humility, hope and of humanity as if we have a track record of learning from our mistakes and evolving to live in prosperity and peace. The Secretary General says that we wish to be “taught if we are fortunate”. No species has behaved with such consistent, meaningless brutality against its own members than humans – time and time again.

We failed to learn from the 15 million deaths of World War One. We had another war instead where the Allies dropped 3.4 million tons of bombs and 72 million people were killed.

We watched Stalin attempt to starve off most of the Ukraine in an insidious genocide that destroyed individuals, their families and their culture as they were forced to sometimes eat their own children or the bodies of those who had already died in desperate attempts to survive.

We then bore witness to the torture, starvation, gassing and poisoning of 6 million people at the hands of Hitler and his Nazi regime. The Holocaust is referred to in Hebrew as Yom HaShoa which means destruction or catastrophe and is one of the most vividly remembered examples of our capacity as a species to carry out acts of extreme cruelty that result in incredible devastation. 

We sent the sound of a kiss of a kiss between mother and child on one of the Golden Records on board the Voyager.

Perhaps we should have included the sound of an air raid siren – a sound that meant fear for everyone in Britain during the Blitz.

We included a picture of the Earth’s children surrounding a globe. 

Perhaps we should have also included a photo of ‘Napalm girl’ – the forever naked, nine year old Vietnamese girl running and screaming as napalm eats away her clothes and skin.

We have done many, many incredible things as a species. Extraordinary acts of courage and compassion go undocumented and unremembered in our collective history that make us worthy of the humanity that is documented on those Golden Records. But we have also committed atrocities and possess a capacity for destruction that has been proven resilient by history.

There has been a lot of discussion about space exploration recently after Curiosity landed on Mars and then the 35th anniversary of the Voyager. Kurt Waldheim’s (UN Secretary General) message reminds us of something that we often forget – “our planet and all its inhabitants are but a small part of the immense universe that surrounds us”.

Divisions and brutality makes less sense when individual ambition and aspiration is insignificant in the presence of a vast and awesome universe. Destruction feels less powerful when we remember that we have only been around for a second in the lifetime of the universe.

Comments on this post close at 8pm AEST.

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    • Queensland Observer says:

      06:20am | 19/09/12

      “What message should we be sending to the aliens?”

      Ask them to contact the Golgafrinchams for us, because we’re in desperate need of their B-Ark.

      Those we can off-load to a planet of their choosing that is far, far away from Earth - Obama, Al Gore, the UN, the Greens party, the ALP, most journalists, all bleeding-hearts, refugee activists, Aboriginal activists, Lefty lawyers, PC-interfering busybodies, and then to add a bit of colour to the above beige people - militant Unionists, all militant Islamists, criminal Bikie gangs, ethnic criminal gangs, and finally add a dash of rainbow with the loopiest from the hippy communes, and homosexual activists.

      I’m sure Lefty World would be a wonderful nirvana and they all can happily live peacefully together hugging trees and participating in drum circles.

      However, we get to keep the telephone sanitisers.

    • colin says:

      08:15am | 19/09/12

      Forget the “...planet of their choosing…”; feed them to a rampant star-goat, I say!

    • gobsmack says:

      08:19am | 19/09/12

      That’s what Joh tried to do and look at what a hole Queensland became as a result.

    • SimpleSimon says:

      08:29am | 19/09/12

      It will get lonely up there on your pedestal if there’s no one else here to look down upon.

    • Anne71 says:

      08:32am | 19/09/12

      QO, I’d consider myself a “lefty” but even I’m shaking my head over Ms Trevitt’s petulant, self-righteous barrel of bilge. Especially this bit:
      “We had another war instead where the Allies dropped 3.4 million tons of bombs and 72 million people were killed. “
      Apparently, in Ms Trevitt’s world, it was only the Allies who were doing a Bad Thing by dropping bombs.  Who cares about Germany’s attempts to reduce London to rubble and kill its citizenry during the Blitz, for example? They must have had their reasons, right? Maybe if we’d just held hands with Hitler, sang Kumbayah and gave him a puppy he might have stopped.
      What a load of rubbish!

    • taxed citizen says:

      08:34am | 19/09/12

      Too right mate !!!
      But before we send any message to them Observer , they should send us a message first and show us if they have the opposable thumb. According to the theory of evolution that happens all over the universe , we became intelligent when we developed the opposabe thumb allowing us to grip a club and start clubbing fellow evolving human beings and hunting for red meat that , according to the theory, helps evolving the brain.
      If they do not have the opposable thumb they are obviously not intelligent , then we should not bother. And again: to those who would like to bow to incoming “cosmic brothers” : when you see a flying soucer landing , before you bow, ask for showing the opposable thumb.

    • Aux says:

      08:38am | 19/09/12

      Lol and then once the religious nutjob righties push to convert the E.T’s to their own religions anduse them for their own agendas, they’ll realise what a dumb race we really are and they’ll enslave, or destroy the rest of you.

      Like sAm said though, exciting stuff!

    • Rickster says:

      12:33pm | 19/09/12

      Is there room in that thing for two?

    • SAm says:

      06:35am | 19/09/12

      Thanks a lot. I love hearing the actual positive stuff we do in regards to space exploration, possibly the one last noble and genuinly peaceful venture our species are capable of, and you come here and depress me with all this.
      Just, thanks. Glad I started the day this way

    • Rickster says:

      03:16pm | 19/09/12

      Yes genuinly peaceful…......gaining the stratigic advantage to launch a first strike… the alien said ” I bring peace” we reply ” it’s bringing peace….. KILL IT”.

    • acotrel says:

      06:49am | 19/09/12

      We should tell the aliens not to come here if they don’t have the right religion.

    • Scotchfinger the Unfriendly Alien says:

      11:31am | 19/09/12

      acotrel, being fascist we use (what you would call) religion to subjugate the underclass. Similar to Aztec culture, our gods are bloodthirsty and grasping; oddly, the great unwashed seem to genuinely love them. *shrugs massive shoulders* Unfortunately we hate Unionists, so you and your ilk will be the first to go into the maw of our pets. But I have taken a liking to you, you have heart, so I will feed you to my own pet, Snuffy. The end will be relatively quick for you, unlike Mr Combet! All the best.

    • Rickster says:

      12:46pm | 19/09/12

      @Scotchgetyourfingeroutofthere being one of the great-mass of unwashed you’d know all about it

    • Scotchfinger the Unfriendly Alien says:

      01:03pm | 19/09/12

      aah Rickster, we have had our (multiple) eyes on you for a long time. I almost feel sorry for you… almost. What did you liken our great Gods to? Sky fairies? Well, look to the skies in the coming weeks, but resemble a fairy we do not.

    • Rickster says:

      03:09pm | 19/09/12

      If it quacks like a duck….it’s a duck, you big fairy!

    • Scotchfinger the VERY Unfriendly Alien says:

      04:21pm | 19/09/12

      oh dear, oh deary me… you have offended Snuffy now. That means, offending me. No Liquo-Meat (TM) for you… I will have you meet the Sqlalegley from Ios Hellnatch. Even we are frightened of these creatures, and not many from the vast intergalactic bestiary provokes that sort of reaction, let me tell you.

    • Little Joe says:

      06:59am | 19/09/12

      Why don’t you ask the question “Why bother??” It’s more logical!!!

    • Ian1 says:

      07:10am | 19/09/12

      Open for business.

    • Anne71 says:

      01:22pm | 19/09/12

      I just hope the Sycorax don’t intercept it raspberry

    • colin says:

      07:16am | 19/09/12

      So we should have included a message of rancour and disharmony, replete with pictures of destruction and war, should we?

      Voyager was launched in an era of hope and by a group of idealistic, enthusiastic people; you cannot denigrate their efforts by sullying the intent of their message.

      And so, now, what is it that your article suggests? That we look at what has failed to occur since we sent that probe out all those years ago, or that we rue the mistakes we have made since? Frankly, I think that we have come a long way since that probe departed; human rights are so much more entrenched and adhered to than ever before; the Berlin wall and Apartheid have both fallen since then; people are living longer, healthier lives; we live in an age of technological wonderment…the list goes on and on. Perhaps you should concentrate on the good that has come since that message sent by naive, enthusiastic innocents was created.

      P.s 1) Disposable cameras have been around since at least the 1960s 2) The Vietnamese girl of which you speak was NOT, “...running and screaming as napalm eats away her clothes and skin…”; she had already been burned prior to the photo - there was no napalm still in flame on her, and she was crying in pain and anguish (a small detail, perhaps, but sensationalism should not distort history) 3) NO species that has been proven categorically to have been rendered extinct by so-called anthropogenic climate change…

    • Richard says:

      07:38am | 19/09/12

      Don’t send a Vogon Constructor Fleet (We don’t need another Galactic By Pass)

    • Scotchfinger says:

      09:32am | 19/09/12

      ‘So long, and thanks for stopping the super-trawler!’

    • Tubesteak says:

      12:20pm | 19/09/12

      You always need bypasses. Spare us the poetry, though

    • FINK says:

      07:50am | 19/09/12

      “What message should we be sending to the aliens?”
      Turn your ship around, your little green leader the esteemed General Lantern, Bob Brown has resigned. Your plans to seek intergalactic asylum or invasion have been averted just in time before the next election.

    • Aux says:

      09:46am | 19/09/12

      Send em to Nauru for processIng first of course!

    • stephen says:

      07:57am | 19/09/12

      Kim Kardashian is on her way to Brisbane.
      I’d like to see her craft diverted, to make a rendevous with Voyager, to breach the cusp that is the Solar System, never to be seen again.

    • Jesse says:

      07:58am | 19/09/12

      Tony abbott will cry out that he will also stop the space ships.

    • Freeman says:

      09:10am | 19/09/12

      He’s already planning off planet processing on one of jupiter’s moons.

    • subotic is an ancient alien says:

      08:06am | 19/09/12

      Avoid Georgio Tsoukalis’ hair….

    • acotrel says:

      09:14am | 19/09/12

      ‘Waiter, there’s a hair in my soup’ ?
      ‘SSH !  Everyone will want one ! ’

    • nihonin says:

      08:08am | 19/09/12

      F*ck off, we’re full.  wink

    • acotrel says:

      09:15am | 19/09/12

      Yep - full of it !

    • Liam says:

      11:01am | 19/09/12

      Heaps of space out in the outback. Or floating on the ocean. Oh hell they could just live in their ships parked in the sky somewhere. Full? The cities maybe, not the planet.

    • gobsmack says:

      08:17am | 19/09/12

      Any aliens that stumble upon Voyager will think we’re stuck in the 1970s.

      We need to send out a new probe with a new message.

      “We have made great advances since our last probe.  We have invented Facebook, Twitter and Reality TV, not to mention T20 cricket.”

    • Al says:

      08:24am | 19/09/12

      My biggest issue with this is not that it was sent, but the actual message and details it contains.
      I am glad for the expansion in our knowledge, but the messages we have sent out are sent on the assumption that those who find them (if any) are actual benevolent, or at least indifferent.
      It contains clear details of where we (Earth) are located.
      There seems to have been no consideration for what may occur should it be found by a malevolent entity. Perhaps seeking a new source of food, resources, collonisable planets and slaves.
      This assumption could be devastating to the future generations of people on Earth.

    • SAm says:

      09:12am | 19/09/12

      True, however in all likelyhood, it wont be found anyway, and anyone involved is likely aware of that.
      The message was for us, the people. Just a little hope, a little bit of a feelgood thing that we can say we’ve done.
      But hey, some greeny pinko who enjoys moping over the bad stuff our people do will just shut that right down

    • Baloo says:

      10:53am | 19/09/12

      If aliens came for anything other then peace then I think we will be OK, why?
      Because America!

    • Tubesteak says:

      12:27pm | 19/09/12

      ” Perhaps seeking a new source of food, resources, collonisable planets and slaves.”

      Food: somehow I doubt any alien has evolved to eat what we’ve got. That includes us. We’re sweet there.

      Resources: plenty of resources on any nearby asteroid. No need to come for ours.

      Colonisable planets: Want to live in a poisoned atmosphere that’s overcrowded and has mostly been mined of all minerals? Sure….that’ll happen

      Slaves: I think any entity capable of interstellar travel is able to build intelligent robots that are far stronger, durable and more reliable than humans. She’ll be right.

      The real question is: would any of them care? Until we can travel the vast distances we’re not going to meet. By the time a message is broadcast back to us it will be thousands of years later.

    • Al says:

      01:11pm | 19/09/12

      Tubesteak re:
      ‘Want to live in a poisoned atmosphere that’s overcrowded and has mostly been mined of all minerals? Sure….that’ll happen’ - so you actualy know what type of atmosphere these (hypothetical) aliens would like, we could be making it MORE habitable for them by doing so.
      ‘Food’ - they may be on a one way mission, the last of their kind seeking any resources they can find to sustain themselves.
      ‘Resources’ - see food.
      ‘Slaves’ - also see food, they may no longer have the resources to build robots.

    • SAm says:

      01:56pm | 19/09/12

      Nitrogen…very plentiful here yet not actually very common throughout the rest of our solar system. useful for biomes

    • SimpleSimon says:

      08:33am | 19/09/12

      The prospect of Voyager leaving our solar system is immensely exciting. I can’t wait to hear what it finds. I think the fact that it’s been going for 35 years and still has an estimated 8 years of fuel left is amazing. Science rules.

    • Scotchfinger says:

      10:23am | 19/09/12

      I’m sure it will bring back photos of friendly aliens, crowding round the probe and chattering excitedly in an advanced-but-not-too-advanced-for-us-to-decipher language. They will decide to visit us in a scene not unlike the climax of Close Encounters… all the leaders of the world will unite in welcoming them… they will demonstrate how to set up a free, endless supply of energy, plus how to become telekinetic… their females will look like beautiful human females, with insatiable sexual appetites… and finally, our hybrid offspring will live for ever, in peace and harmony. Is this what you are hoping for? hahahahahahahahahahah, oh dear, hahahahahahahah!

    • SimpleSimon says:

      11:10am | 19/09/12

      Haha, yep, pretty much. Are you suggesting that’s unrealistic?

    • Horthy says:

      08:41am | 19/09/12

      The Aricebo message, and a copy of Baraka.

    • John L says:

      08:43am | 19/09/12

      It’ll be another 30,000 years before it emerges from the Oort cloud, then we can say it has really left the Solar System, if it manages to emerge from that soup of debris.

    • Fed Up says:

      08:53am | 19/09/12

      Don’t blame me….i voted Liberal.

    • Rickster says:

      12:53pm | 19/09/12

      I don’t blame you it’s not your fault your mother dropped you on your head.

    • Freeman says:

      09:23am | 19/09/12

      “Now, it is at the cusp of our solar system, on the brink of exiting the celestial realm that we are familiar with and launching into interstellar territory.”

      Yer, The imagery you try to create is far from reality. Voyager is about to enter a territory of nothingness that is almost impossible to comprehend. to put it into scale, if the sun were the size of a footy and the earth were the size of a pinhead, and the earth were a matter of mere meters away from the sun, the closest solar system to earth would be 4 kilometers away. and of course, there’s no reason the voyager would head in the right direction to encounter that solar system.

      It will be hundreds or thousands of years till the Voyager encounters another solar system.

    • Dan says:

      09:42am | 19/09/12

      I’m not sure what the point is of this article other than humans do good stuff and bad stuff. It could have all been said with a picture of the yin and yang.

      I love space exploration because it makes me so proud to be a human. When curiosity landed on Mars recently I walked around for a week thinking - how many other animals in the universe could land a $2billion robot with artificial intelligence, a 15 year battery and an onboard scientific laboratory on another planet? We achieve these things by working together and by working together we can conquer the cosmos.

      To those who enjoyed the moment as much go to youtube and search for “Dare mighty things” based on the landing and the following quote by Theodore Roosevelt

      “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat”

    • Scotchfinger says:

      10:29am | 19/09/12

      Dolphins have been doing it for years, just deep under the sea, and using invisible space craft. That is, when they are not waging war with the Japanese (and winning - what do you think REALLY caused the tsunami that devastated the country???). Sorry Dan, epic FAIL for presuming that humans are the bomb.

      PS, dolphins wrote that speech for Teddy. FAIL again.

    • Gordon says:

      10:50am | 19/09/12

      Hope you’ve done your JSA, your EIS & your stakeholder consulation before you go off daring mighty things, or you might lose your social license to operate.

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      09:45am | 19/09/12

      Turn around.  One of the most powerful nations on earth insists its leader believes in an imaginary friend, and makes laws based on outdated knowledge from 2000 years ago.  Another group will murder and destroy if someone draws a cartoon of someone who died over a thousand years ago.  We think diluting onion in water gives it magic powers and that lying on a blanket full of magnets cures you of many ills.  We think that poking ourselves with tiny pins will realign a magic energy flow that has no evidence of existing.  We studiously ignore science whenever it doesn’t confirm what we already believe.  We consider those who undertake studies of humanity to be worth of no more than frying our most basic starchy foods.  We venerate those who can knock a small object around or professionally lie more than we ever care about those who heal, discover and enlighten.  We love nothing more than to tell others how despicable they are and that we wish for them to suffer in unimaginable agony for eternity.  We spend far more on inventing ways to kill each other than we do trying to improve our lot.  We consider psychological manipulation of many to benefit a few, to be perfectly reasonable.  We consider it acceptable for billions to suffer so that a few can by more things they don’t need.  Turn around, there’s little of worth here.  You will be sullied just knowing of our existence. 

      Thus ends my misanthropic rant for the day.

    • Scotchfinger the Unfriendly Alien says:

      10:53am | 19/09/12

      Tim the Toolman, thanks for your great intro to humanity. You all sound fun…we are coming over, probably for a week or two, so don’t make plans. This is all the time we need to turn your planet’s biomass - including yourselves - into a tasty liquid soup, for feeding to our monstrous pets. Unfortunately for you, our ability to traverse the vast distances of space has come at a massive cost, we are essentially Fascists as democracies don’t foster technocracies very well. We might leave China alone, as we approve of their methods. So long, and see you soon (you will be alerted to our presence by a hideous, unearthly howling noise at about 3am, EST).

    • Gordon says:

      10:09am | 19/09/12

      The efficient packaging of so many ahistorical logical inconsistencies and unexamined cosy assumptions into three short pars about the 20C disasters should win some sort of award.

      If we start w/ WWI: “we didn’t learn” says Sophie…sooo, thus NOT waging war against Stalin in 20s or 30s was the RIGHT thing to do then? No no no, it wasn’t. Hitler being as arsehole needed a response so: hence WWII, Nooo that was wrong too says our Sophie…despite it being also wrong that we “bore witness” to the holocaust. Tell us oh wise one what would YOU have done starting from say, 1914.

      Maybe we should have tied a black armband around the voyager & left it at that..

    • MarkS says:

      10:10am | 19/09/12

      We have not failed to learn anything. You on the other hand have NFI. The real universe is not a group hug & a stirring round of kumbaya.

    • Gordon says:

      11:07am | 19/09/12

      I agree with you 100% on the first two points MarkS, but it occurs to me we know exactly nothing about the social conditions of the rest of the universe…maybe it IS all a group hug and a stirring round of kumbaya!

    • colin says:

      10:23am | 19/09/12

      @Tim the Toolman 09:45am | 19/09/12

      No, not a misanthropic rant, but a succinct, truthful, and humorous take on all that the empty-headed, the violent, the weak-willed, the power-crazy, and the gullible do to make this world such a place…

      Vote One Tim the Toolman!

    • Scotchfinger the Unfriendly Alien says:

      11:36am | 19/09/12

      pah, he will be like chaff before our Liquo-Meat (TM) machines. And stop trying to make us feel bad about destroying you all! Character references won’t help, our pets need feeding.

    • colin says:

      12:55pm | 19/09/12

      @Scotchfinger the Unfriendly Alien 11:36am | 19/09/12

      I laugh at your puny threats! Ha! Hahaha!

      We will meet you head-on with our Mark 5 Discombobulators (pat.pend.) and liquidate you with a quick blast from our AlienMelter 5000s (TM); your Liquo-Meat (TM) machines are no match for the incomprehensibility of our space-age weapon vernacular..!

    • Rickster says:

      01:07pm | 19/09/12

      the empty-headed,the violent the weak willed,the powercrazy and the gullible, so that just about does it for the LNP and supporters what about the rest?

    • Scotchfinger says:

      01:18pm | 19/09/12

      *frowns, feeling a twinge of unease for the first time in 500 years*
      wha-what are these…machines you speak of? I hope this is a joke, colin!

      *pats Snuffy* There there, I’m sure the nasty human is bluffing…

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      01:32pm | 19/09/12

      “pah, he will be like chaff before our Liquo-Meat (TM) machines”

      I’m willing to send wave after wave of my own men to clog up your Liquo-Meat (TM) machines!

    • Jak says:

      10:31am | 19/09/12

      In the 60’s and 70’s it was only loonies who believed in flying saucers, aliens and extraterrestrial communication with them. Scientists told us so. Forty years on, a couple of generations of Hollywood movies later, Scientists now believe the opposite.  Sophie Trevitt would be an ideal person to make first contact. They could study misanthropic pessimism first hand.

    • Chopper knows says:

      11:09am | 19/09/12

      Video clip of “Long way to the top if you want to rock n roll” by ACDC or “Gangnam Style” by PSY

    • Paul says:

      11:09am | 19/09/12

      What if life is in the opposite direction Voyager is heading?

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      11:25am | 19/09/12

      Space is probably curved.  It’ll get there eventually… smile

    • Abhor The Alien says:

      11:15am | 19/09/12

      “They shall be my finest warriors, these men who give of themselves to me.
      Like clay I shall mould them, and in the furnace of war forge them.
      They will be of iron will and steely muscle.
      In great armour shall I clad them and with the mightiest guns will they be armed.
      They will be untouched by plague or disease, no sickness will blight them.
      They will have tactics, strategies and machines so that no foe can best them in battle.
      They are my bulwark against the terror.
      They are the defenders of Humanity.
      They are my Space Marines…
      ...and they shall know no fear.”

    • Scotchfinger the Unfriendly Alien says:

      12:03pm | 19/09/12

      mmm, we love a good tussle. Many interplanetary species have tried to avoid their fate; it’s pitiful to watch their faces fall under the inevitable defeat. Those on Jupiter were actually pretty tough! *chuckles affectionately*

      Yes, we do have feelings, unlike you Humans. Funny little soft-bodied apes you all are. Are you a great War Lord? We have special plans for you, he heee! *revolting snorting sound*

    • TimB says:

      02:00pm | 19/09/12

      I can’t wait until these Scotchy aliens face the might of the Legions Astartes. Or Emperor forbid, the Primarchs themselves.

      Stupid xenos filth.

    • St. Michael says:

      02:29pm | 19/09/12

      Couple of Inquisitors’ll have the mess cleaned up in a couple of hours.

    • St. Michael says:

      11:40am | 19/09/12

      Obviously you’ve not read the book “Contact”, Sophie.  Any message sitting aboard Voyager I has been far outdistanced by our electromagnetic broadcasts ever since we learned to transmit images and sound through the air, mostly because EM transmissions travel at the speed of light or close to it.

      Therefore (and as “Contact” goes into in passing as part of its story) If there’s any message that reaches people listening on the far side of the galaxy, it will in all likelihood be Adolf Hitler’s opening of the Summer Olympics in 1936, since TV broadcasts before that date didn’t have enough powerto escape Earth’s atmosphere.

      Ever since that date, all of our TV and EM transmissions have been winging their way into the cosmos - everything from 9/11 to net porn, anything that was broadcast with enough power to escape the ionosphere.  You don’t need to worry about the “Napalm Girl” image going on Voyager I, the Vegans probably already have it.

      But they will also have every other image that’s been transmitted - images of children suddenly hearing again after being deaf for all their lives; images of the smallpox eradication program; images of the speeches of Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, of Gandhi; images of Mother Teresa; images of firemen running into the Twin Towers ahead of its fall to rescue people; images of relief efforts in Africa; images of our computers and the Internet and Higgs-Boson and every other good deed mankind has wrought, along with the bad.

      I wonder what they’ll think of us.

    • Scotchfinger the Unfriendly Alien says:

      12:45pm | 19/09/12

      yes yes, we have seen all the tawdry rubbish you send out. Al jazeera channel amuses us; the porn, just offensive! And we look forward to meeting your Queen, Kim Kardashian, before melting her down (minus the silicon). The heroic stuff provokes a little twinge of regret…still, batten down the hatches, ‘St. Michael’, ‘cause we are Comin’ to Town!

    • Lurr says:

      05:04pm | 19/09/12

      This concept of “Wuv” confuses and infuriates us!

    • Jokular says:

      12:27pm | 19/09/12

      If there is Alien life and they do come here, do you really think they’d be friendly and want to share a latte?

    • Gordon says:

      12:51pm | 19/09/12

      If they are I hope they come to Melbourne, at least we know how to MAKE a latte.

    • Scotchfinger the Unfriendly Alien says:

      01:24pm | 19/09/12

      I personally love a latte, with Blood Froth. Yum!

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      01:42pm | 19/09/12

      More time on your hands than usual, Scotch? smile

    • Scotchfinger says:

      02:09pm | 19/09/12

      Space travel is tedious, Tim the Toolman. Even with an ancient E-reader.

    • AJ in Perth says:

      02:13pm | 19/09/12


      Now is about a good time to stop drinking whatever it is you’ve been drinking all day ...  No need to stop sending in you badass alien posts though.

    • Tanya says:

      04:07pm | 19/09/12

      We support multigallaxicism.

    • Kika says:

      04:19pm | 19/09/12

      “We will turn your vessel around if you enter our borders illegally. If you proceed we will have no choice but to send you to Nauru. From Earth”

    • Scotchfinger the Unfriendly Alien says:

      05:04pm | 19/09/12

      Muslims give me wind, personally. But Throxas loves them with cinnamon.

    • AnthonyG says:

      05:42pm | 19/09/12

      We are already sending them messages but they ignore them and keep geeting on leaky boats and come anyway


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