Voyager in space

Was It a Mistake to Broadcast Earth Coordinates on Voyager?


According to the science fiction novel Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard, the answer is yes.

“Man apparently sent out some kind of probe that gave full directions to the place, had pictures of man on it and everything. It got picked up by a Psychlo recon…. The probe and the pictures were on a metal that was rare everywhere and worth a clanking fortune. And Intergalactic paid the Psychlo governors sixty trillion Galactic credits for the directions and the concession. One gas barrage and we were in business.” —Chapter 1, Battlefield Earth

In the novel, the Psychlo invaders consider Earth part of a “rim star system,” way out on the edge of a galaxy in the 16th universe. This was the last universe to be discovered by their race and was never wholly mapped.

Voyager 1 gold disc

And Earth might have gone overlooked had it not been for the Voyager probes.

Instead, with the discovery of the gold disks they carried, the Psychlos invaded, gassed the planet and wiped out most of the population so they could mine Earth for gold and its mineral resources.

Pretty much a routine matter for the Psychlos and all in the name of intergalactic mining, profits, and banking. From their perspective, they owned the intergalactic rights and through the power of gold, they could secure control of whole planets and galaxies.

True Events

Attached to the outside of Voyagers 1 and 2 is the Golden Record, inscribed with a map showing our solar system’s position relative to its 14 nearest stars.

The record includes images, scientific information written in a universal language, greetings in 55 languages, a collection of music and a message from the then President of the United States, Jimmy Carter. Here’s a video of the 116 images NASA wanted aliens to see.

Both spacecraft will continue to drift for billions of miles carrying their message to any intelligent spacefaring civilization that might happen to discover them.

Forty Years Later

Today, Voyager 1 and 2 still receive routine commands and return data to Earth. They are not expected to lose power until the 2020s. Voyager 1 became the first spacecraft to enter interstellar space in 2012 and Voyager 2 is now traveling through the outer layers of our solar system.

At their current speed of 10 kilometers per second, it will take roughly 40,000 years to go from one star to another. So chances of a sufficiently powerful radar being able to detect them seem unlikely.

Friendly or Hostile Aliens

Not everyone believes it was a mistake to send out the coordinates of Earth.

Back when the Golden Record was created “all the people I dealt with were optimists and they thought the ETs would be friendly,” says Frank Drake, designer of the map on the record. “Nobody thought, even for a few seconds, about whether this might be a dangerous thing to do.”

With what we know of the galaxy and the number of inhabitable planets there could be, some think it is dangerous to freely broadcast our exact location. Hostile aliens, like the Psychlos in Battlefield Earth, could be the end result.

Others think the method used to design the map was clever but inherently flawed as long-term changes in space will render the map useless. Possibly by the time anyone finds it, they will encounter a riddle that will be very difficult to decipher.

Regardless, the truth is the Voyagers are out there, the map can be found, the code can be broken and a hostile alien race could very well invade our planet. Much like the scenario in Battlefield Earth:

Or, on the other hand, we could establish interstellar friendships with the likes of E.T. and the “heptapods” described in the 2016 movie Arrival.

So, was it a mistake to send out a map of Earth’s coordinates?

12 replies
  1. Peter
    Peter says:

    No! We are much too far away from the next closest life forms to ever have a probe like Voyager contact anything; Especially something with bad intentions. Totally impractical!

    Reply
  2. 1resolute
    1resolute says:

    The encounters with aliens I’ve read about show no evidence whatsoever that these beings are friendly. Quite the contrary. Apparently they treat their “victims” as our scientists treat our animals. Inspecting, probing and never once considering the feelings or trauma being caused by the alien “scientist”. Per these stories by those who have undergone “being taken”, ET, as in the movie, is surely an anomaly. I certainly would not try to shake hands with one. Who has and had a pleasant experience, besides in the movies?

    Reply
  3. shawn o'reilly
    shawn o'reilly says:

    The excuse that there is NO alien life aka extra-terrestrial life out among the stars, at the level of technological advancement of our human species those alien races that know of our human race might have already thought to stay away from us due to thinking that it might be more harmful the beneficial. some of these alien races are a threat to us, some with be beneficial to us, some with be borderline with us depending on how we interact with them. as for me and our level of technological advancement and if I ever meet an alien race that is beneficial, I would suggest to them limited contact with a select few individuals so as to SLOWLY warm up the rest of the populace to that specific alien race

    Reply
  4. Larry Cox
    Larry Cox says:

    What was put on the disk was silly, but the question of the article is moot.
    LRH had already done the research in 1952! Anyone can read his books and listen to his lectures and find out what he discovered. And by all accounts – except the official account – they have already returned. They know where Earth is and what Earth is and they have for millions of years.

    Reply
  5. Jerry F Harding
    Jerry F Harding says:

    It would be nice to know who these aliens are. Within our Mikky Way Galaxy there may be 100’s if not thousands of inhabited world’s. Many of them may contain humanoid type beings. Others may have different life forms. Some of them may be far more advanced in the technology or their intellectual property. All it would take would be one of the advanced races to be out on space patrol and spot our Voyagers and seize it. It has gold wrapped around it. Gold may be scarce n very pricey around their home planet. Here’s this little thing with gold and a map to where they can get more. I wouldn’t take long for some greedy aliens to follow the map and show up here and find out where the gold is and realize we have no defences. Be an easy take over. Now if they were friendly, they’d have to come and integrate among us and then Rob us nicely of our gold and precious metals. Either way is a possibility and a chance we take when we send it small satellites with gold on them and a map to where and who we are sitting our here with no defences against an attack from these high tech beings. See Battlefield Earth for the destructive aliens. See Mission Earth for those could infiltrate among us. Enjoy them both.

    Reply
    • Larry Cox
      Larry Cox says:

      Well, for those who wish to keep all this in the realm of fiction, perhaps is is just as well.
      While we have some idea what the society that set up Earth, current iteration, was like – and many other such societies as well – we have no guarantee that the ones visiting now are the same as those we remember. Without any broad-scale interaction with them we are at the mercy of the story-spinners. So it might as well all be fiction.
      Though the story-spinners have included several accounts of Earth actually preparing quite thoroughly for ET contact – in secret – I would feel more comfortable personally if I were more certain about the level of truthfulness in these various accounts.

      Reply
  6. Bill bailey
    Bill bailey says:

    You never know. The aliens who find it might not think gold has much value. Their planet is rich in gold. The steal or iron on the probe might have more value to them because their planet has very little iron.

    Reply
  7. Rod
    Rod says:

    I drive a semi And come home in a bad mood sometimes from hours and hours of driving , if they traveled millions or trillions of miles thru space to get here they would be in a fightin mood ! Yep for sure…. Space rage ..

    Reply
  8. Joel Cox
    Joel Cox says:

    God created everything and everybody. If there are others on some other planet,They could be no more advanced than we are,Therefore couldn’t reach us!.Just saying!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *