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Singatures Disk, About Cassini DVD
dilo
post Sep 2 2005, 09:40 PM
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QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Sep 2 2005, 05:38 PM)
... But if you are ever in Pasadena, contact me and I'll let you search through it!
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Emily, it seems I should plan a trip to California! smile.gif


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Katie
post Sep 9 2005, 05:32 AM
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QUOTE (ljk4-1 @ Sep 2 2005, 07:22 AM)
When and if the disc is ever recovered from Cassini, does anyone honestly think a future civilization will be able to read a DVD, even an advanced technical one that could pluck a spacecraft from around Saturn?  And what will a bunch of names and addresses mean centuries hence - to say nothing if it is found by an ETI.
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I guess for me just the idea that my name is up in space is enough. I work with preschoolers and toddlers. I'll never be part of the space program but knowing that a little piece of me is up there orbiting Saturn and will be orbiting Pluto in 10 years is enough even if it's just my name and no ET ever finds or makes sense of it. smile.gif
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Bob Shaw
post Sep 9 2005, 10:18 AM
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The early Pioneer Lunar probes were accompanied by (probably) hundreds of autographs, and good luck messages - but *not* on the spacecraft. The launch crew and others autographed the aerodynamic shroud, which of course was jettisoned during ascent, but they made their point anyway!

Does anyone know of other such examples of informal messages aboard spacecraft? I'm sure that there must be lots...


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djellison
post Sep 9 2005, 10:52 AM
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Didnt someone admit to licking their thumb and leaving a dna-laden thumb print just under a thermal cover on something - a Voyager or a Pioneer I'm sure.

Doug
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ljk4-1
post Sep 9 2005, 02:44 PM
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QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Sep 2 2005, 04:17 PM)
Cassini, and the rest of them, *should* all end up safely in museums, but *should* also be left in place. How? You build the museum around the antique spacecraft!  Thus we have on-site interpretation, preservation, and education...

...of course, it'll take a while for the museums to be built - consider the CDs to be the foundation stones!
*


I did not recommend that spacecraft currently in space be placed in museums, even ones surrounding them in space itself. How can we learn about interstellar debris impact rates and such for our future star probes if we "protect" our ancient craft? Besides, the near vacuum of space will be its best protection.

By the time we have the technology to find and study such vessels, on-site analysis techniques should be more than sufficient to give our descendants all the data they need on the craft.

See this online article about Space Archaeology here for a description of what I mean:

http://www.archaeology.org/0411/etc/space.html

If they want to put them in museums after all that, it will be mainly for sentimental reasons. Otherwise they should be left in space where they will be much better preserved for far longer.

The Pioneer and Voyager probes are estimated to have a survival rate of 1 billion years in deep space.

Going back to the topic of messages and such on discs, I say again that the value of preserving our culture and history in deep space necessitates that these messages discs have far more important information on them than a bunch of signatures and trite statements.

If you want to have a separate disc with just that for the purpose of making people feel a part of the mission, that is fine (my name can be found on a number of such discs in deep space and on other worlds), but there should be a message container with pertinent information about us to preserve for the future, as nothing on Earth will last as long. This is vitally important both for our descendants and the possibility that ETI may find them as well.

Sadly, most time capsules and items placed in foundation stones are essentially fluff of little use to historians. For some ways to see how it should and should not be done, read here:

http://davidszondy.com/future/timecapsule/timecapsules.htm

One example of good information preservation has been done on the ESA Rosetta comet probe with the Rosetta Project disc, which has preserved thousands of human languages. Just imagine how important that will be for future societies studying us, or for an ETI trying to decipher us.

http://www.rosettaproject.org/live

The Pioneer Plaques were a fine start for saying something about us for ages in a scientific fashion, and the Voyager Interstellar Records are the literal gold standard for how such messages should be constructed and utilized for future messages and historical preservation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyager_Golden_Record

Some have said that more modern technology could preserve every scrap of human history on a single disc these days. This may be true, but how would it be organized properly to be understood, and more importantly, will it be readable by a future humanity or ETI, to say nothing of comprehensible?

The Voyager Records have the virtue of being able to at least produce the sounds, music, and languages by the mere placing of the also stored stylus or some kind of needle in the grooves and spinning the record. Can't do that with a DVD or CD-ROM.

Also, the DVDs can be destroyed by radiation, which is in abundant in space and around and on the planets. So even those mere signatures may be destroyed long before anyone can come along to read them, ruining any chance of any kind of message or preservation to the future.

Has TPS or any other group that works on such discs thought about how to better preserve our messages to the future so that they are still there ages hence? Carving in rock may seem primitive, but how much less would we know about Sumer and other such cultures if they had put all their writings on paper?

As for the benefits of sending physical messages across space, see this informative Web site:

http://www.winlab.rutgers.edu/~crose/cgi-bin/cosmicB.html


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and feel as if I had done some wrong, and it is hard to forget the ugly circumstance.
I see that such intercourse long continued would make one thoroughly prosaic, hard,
and coarse. But the longest intercourse with Nature, though in her rudest moods, does
not thus harden and make coarse. A hard, sensible man whom we liken to a rock is
indeed much harder than a rock. From hard, coarse, insensible men with whom I have
no sympathy, I go to commune with the rocks, whose hearts are comparatively soft."

- Henry David Thoreau, November 15, 1853

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dvandorn
post Sep 9 2005, 07:21 PM
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QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Sep 9 2005, 05:18 AM)
The early Pioneer Lunar probes were accompanied by (probably) hundreds of autographs, and good luck messages - but *not* on the spacecraft. The launch crew and others autographed the aerodynamic shroud, which of course was jettisoned during ascent, but they made their point anyway!

Does anyone know of other such examples of informal messages aboard spacecraft? I'm sure that there must be lots...
*

I recall a story (that has been verified, I believe) that a member of the Grumman close-out crew at the Cape, when buttoning up the MESA equipment table in LM-5 prior to the launch of Apollo 11, wrote a short note (something like "Good luck and Godspeed") and his signature on the inside of the thermal blanket that covered the MESA's contents. When Armstrong pulled the blankets off, he saw the message, didn't say anything at the time, and didn't even mention it in the crew debriefing -- but he did tell his superiors quietly, and apparently that Grumman guy got sacked.

-the other Doug


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Bob Shaw
post Sep 9 2005, 08:44 PM
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QUOTE (dvandorn @ Sep 9 2005, 08:21 PM)
I recall a story (that has been verified, I believe) that a member of the Grumman close-out crew at the Cape, when buttoning up the MESA equipment table in LM-5 prior to the launch of Apollo 11, wrote a short note (something like "Good luck and Godspeed") and his signature on the inside of the thermal blanket that covered the MESA's contents.  When Armstrong pulled the blankets off, he saw the message, didn't say anything at the time, and didn't even mention it in the crew debriefing -- but he did tell his superiors quietly, and apparently that Grumman guy got sacked.

-the other Doug
*


other Doug:

I think you may be right about the writing within the MESA LM bay area, but seem to remember it being a bit of a happier tale, with a range of signatures from the close-out crew and no hangings of enthusiastic engineers. There were also a number of *ahem* unofficial pictures added to at least one surface cuff checklist...

Must go and read Chaikin!

Bob Shaw


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ljk4-1
post Sep 9 2005, 08:44 PM
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QUOTE (dvandorn @ Sep 9 2005, 02:21 PM)
I recall a story (that has been verified, I believe) that a member of the Grumman close-out crew at the Cape, when buttoning up the MESA equipment table in LM-5 prior to the launch of Apollo 11, wrote a short note (something like "Good luck and Godspeed") and his signature on the inside of the thermal blanket that covered the MESA's contents.  When Armstrong pulled the blankets off, he saw the message, didn't say anything at the time, and didn't even mention it in the crew debriefing -- but he did tell his superiors quietly, and apparently that Grumman guy got sacked.

-the other Doug
*


I hope the ending to that story is the only untrue part, because firing some poor guy who worked on the system and only wanted to give the astronauts a wish you well message is just wrong, be it 1969 or 2005 or any other era. What, his writing would have damaged the MESA somehow? If it was that delicate, it should never have been sent to the Moon.

Along with the requisite plaques and medallions sent on numerous Soviet probes:

http://www.mentallandscape.com/V_Pennants.htm

I know that a USA flag was rolled up into one of the support legs of Surveyor 1 in 1966, but I do not have the reference handy.

Oran Nicks recounts in his NASA book Far Travelers, that a member of the Mariner 2 team had put a USA flag in the first US probe to Venus in 1962. You can read it here and the whole book online:

"Jack James' penchant for patriotic display came to light as Mariner 2 was well on its way to Venus, when he disclosed that he had personally placed a small American flag between some layers of thermal material on top of the spacecraft. Had I known about this when it occurred, I would have reacted as I did when Jack later had a seal added to the Mariner 4 compartment cover.

"Some day future Americans may recover Mariner 2 and rejoice in exposing its national symbol, proving that Jack was right in doing what I considered to be sensitive at the time. As things turned out, I am proud that our flag and great seal are out there in orbit about the Sun along with the planets."

http://history.nasa.gov/SP-480/ch4.htm

You can see the Seal of the United States on the side of the first American Mars probe here:

http://www.petermasek.info/m4gallery.html

Dare I ask what was so sensitive about putting a small flag on a probe? A weight issue? A threat to the technology of the craft? Could not have been anything PC back then.

As for writing messages on the Pioneer lunar probe rocket shrouds, a National Geographic Magazine issue from 1959 actually has a photo of a launch pad technician writing his name and good wishes on the Pioneer 2 shroud. Maybe all that ink and graphite kept these probes from making it to the Moon.

wink.gif


--------------------
"After having some business dealings with men, I am occasionally chagrined,
and feel as if I had done some wrong, and it is hard to forget the ugly circumstance.
I see that such intercourse long continued would make one thoroughly prosaic, hard,
and coarse. But the longest intercourse with Nature, though in her rudest moods, does
not thus harden and make coarse. A hard, sensible man whom we liken to a rock is
indeed much harder than a rock. From hard, coarse, insensible men with whom I have
no sympathy, I go to commune with the rocks, whose hearts are comparatively soft."

- Henry David Thoreau, November 15, 1853

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