The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has launched a spacecraft and cast a plan to give intelligent back to life.
According to NASA, the 40-year old Voyager probes each contain a copy of Frank Drake’s pulsar map, which could lead intelligent life back to Earth.
Based on the science report, the map was made several years prior to the launches of either spacecraft.
The plan involved the creation of a map that would lead the finders of the Voyager probes back to Earth.
The report also suggested that it couldn’t be any old map that used directions like North, South, East, West, or vague locations like “the third planet from the Sun.”
Astrophysicist Frank Drake, the inventor, decided to create a map that used pulsars — massive neutron stars that can live for millions of years.
Citing the spacecraft, they often look like they’re flickering, but are actually spinning constantly, and slow down with age, and by timing those flickers, you can figure out their spin rate. As explained by Nadia Drake at National Geographic, an intelligent being who found the Voyager and the accompanying map could measure the current spin rate of a pulsar, and compare it to the spin rate noted on the map, informing them of how long the probe had been traveling.
In 1971, when Frank Drake and fellow astrophysicist Carl Sagan decided, just six years before either of the Voyagers were launched. 14 pulsars were used for the original map, which contains lines connecting each pulsar to the Sun as the central point. The pulsars’ individual spin rates are written on the lines in binary code, with the entire map inscribed on the Voyager Golden Record.
“There was a magic about pulsars … no other things in the sky had such labels on them,” explained Drake. “Each one had its own distinct pulsing frequency, so it could be identified by anybody, including other creatures after a long period of time and far, far away.”
“The thing is going something like 10 kilometers (6 miles) per second, at which speed it takes—for the typical separation of stars—about half a million years to go from one star to another,” said Drake. “And of course, it’s not aimed at any star, it’s just going where it’s going.”