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Interstellar Greeting
Interstellar Greeting (click to enlarge)
 
 

Interstellar Greeting
Date: 25 Feb 1972

The plaque mounted to Pioneers 10 and 11 is designed to show when Pioneer was launched, from where and by what kind of beings. The design is etched into a 6 inch by 9 inch gold-anodized aluminum plate, attached to the spacecraft's attenna support struts in a position to help shield it from erosion by interstellar dust.

The radiating lines at left represents the positions of 14 pulsars, a cosmic source of radio energy, arranged to indicate our sun as the home star of our civilization. The "1-" symbols at the ends of the lines are binary numbers that represent the frequencies of these pulsars at the time of launch of Pioneer 10 relative of that to the hydrogen atom shown at the upper left with a "1" unity symbol. The hydrogen atom is thus used as a "universal clock," and the regular decrease in the frequencies of the pulsars will enable another civilization to determine the time that has elapsed since Pioneer was launched.

The hydrogen is also used as a "universal yardstick" for sizing the human figures and outline of the spacecraft shown on the right. The hydrogen wavelength, about 8 inches, multiplied by the binary number representing "8" shown next to the woman gives her height, 64 inches. The figures represent the type of creature that created Pioneer. The man's hand is raised in a gesture of good will.

Across the bottom are the planets, ranging outward from the sun, with the spacecraft trajectory arching away from Earth, passing Mars, and swinging by Jupiter.

Credit: NASA



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Last Updated: 28 May 2013