*** Originally published in September of 2015 ***
On 10 March 1972, America launched the Pioneer 10 spacecraft with a gold-anodized aluminum plaque, measuring 9″ x 6″. The plaque told any aliens finding the probe about our knowledge of Hydrogen, what we looked like, and, conveniently, on which planet they could hunt us.
Our early space pioneers thought this was so clever they repeated their mistake with Pioneer 11 on 5 April 1973. Here is a copy of the actual plaque. For any confused readers, the human-like figure on the left is a “man”, and the one on the right is a “woman”. The rest features directions to our planet – like an early form of Google Maps.
Aliens achieved their revenge by giving us the Carter administration, and it was all good. Until now. Social Justice Warriors, through what we can only assume is a rift in the space/time continuum, have discovered this plaque, and deemed it to be Problematic.
“What is the problem?” you are thinking. “Is it that Mankind is naked, vulnerable, unarmed, and clearly not ready for advanced alien contact?” Foolish, foolish normal person. These are Progressives!
The “man” figure is “raising his hand in a manly fashion while a woman stands behind him, appearing all meek and submissive.” The figures are “obviously white.” The message “includes Western-dominated material.” Please, aliens, forgive us and harvest us now. We are clearly fattened and ready for you.
On the plus side, the Breakthrough Initiative is offering a million dollar prize for the best idea for a *new* message to broadcast to our surely benevolent alien visitors. Oy Vey. Yes, I culturally appropriated that statement to voice my doubt.
But… prize money? We at Tempest in a Teardrop cannot pass up such an opportunity. A million dollars US will probably cover a couple cans of tuna by the time it’s awarded, and we’re actively pursuing this opportunity. We have no interest in betraying mankind, however, so our approach might be considered… unconventional.
First, we will include a map to either the Klingon home world or Tatooine. Both are equally annoying yet their locations are known, fictionally speaking. Second, instead of Hydrogen atoms we thought to include a means to calculate next years’ national debt. This will trick the aliens into verifying our findings, sending their computers into hopeless infinite loops, just like those at the Federal Reserve. This will make them unable to calculate a route to our world.
Finally, we’ve drawn this preliminary sketch:
Once we’ve perfected our sample plaque, we’ll submit it to the Breakthrough Initiative. If you have a chance to vote, please vote for us. Otherwise, you might as well vote for the plaque with inclusive humans, our galactic GPS location, and a recommendation to use barbeque sauce instead of ketchup. It would be embarrassing to be served with ketchup.