6 Insane Attempts to Communicate With the Future

We've all dreamed about it at some point in our lives, but let's face it: Time travel is probably not going to happen. And if you sign up to have somebody freeze your body and wake you up in the year 3012, all that'll probably happen is you'll wake up the next day in a bathtub of ice with your kidney missing.

But that's not to say we can't at least communicate with the distant future. With nothing more than a message to send and a ludicrous amount of funding, there are all sorts of projects to preserve messages for your great-great-(great-great-great-) grandchildren. Like ...

#6. KEO


The mission of the planned KEO satellite is simple: stay in an orbit that will carry it around Earth, safely away from whatever catastrophe might happen down on the surface, before allowing it to crash back down for the future inhabitants of the planet to find ("find" in this case possibly meaning "be impaled, dismembered or crushed by").

Collin Harvey
Doesn't protect against falling roof tiles or small meteorites, and blocks most CNN broadcasts.

How long will it be up there? Fifty thousand years, give or take a few.

Elected in 1999 as UNESCO's "Project of the 21st century," KEO is the brainchild of French artist Jean-Marc Philippe. It's to be an orbiting time capsule consisting of a spherical body constructed of metal alloys strong enough to protect its precious payload and solar-powered wings that flap for no useful purpose (hint: There's no air up there). That's what you get when you let an artist design a satellite.

Who wrote the instructions in French? That'll be a dead language in six, seven years max.

So What Message Was Worth All This Trouble to Send?

So when the advanced beings who live on Earth 50,000 years from now float up alongside this giant metal space bug that fluttered down from the cosmos and pop it open with their mind powers, what will be awaiting them inside?

  • A drop of human blood, plus samples of air, sea water and soil, all encased within a diamond engraved with the human genome

  • An astronomical clock

  • Portraits of people of all cultures

Oh noooooo.

  • The Contemporary Library of Alexandria, an "encyclopedic compendium of current human knowledge"

  • The full, uncensored text of all the messages submitted by the public on KEO's website

  • Pictorial schematics to build a DVD player (to read the messages)

Whoa, hang on. Let's step back to that next-to-last one real quick: "The full, uncensored text of all the messages submitted by the public on KEO's website." Think about that for a second. In a world where stuff like 4Chan and Yahoo! Answers exists, their big plan is to send the inhabitants of far-future Earth unfiltered messages from anonymous Internet users.

"Maybe that nuclear war wasn't such a bad idea."

Excuse us, we're just going to head straight on over there right now and submit our apology to the people of Future Earth and beg them not to send back Timecops to beat the shit out of us.

#5. The Georgia Guidestones


In June of 1979, a mysterious gentleman going by the pseudonym of R. C. Christian walked into the office of a granite finishing company in rural Elbert County, Georgia, and proceeded to request the installation of an unusually large and complex stone monument on behalf of "a small group of loyal Americans." It's been since sometime around the Revolutionary War since the phrase "a small group of loyal Americans" didn't mean something terrifying or insane, and as you'll soon see, this is no different.

The temptation to chisel a dick in that must be enormous.

Just how large and complex was this monument? It has since earned the nickname "America's Stonehenge," and rightly so: Four 16-foot-tall, 20-ton slabs of granite are arranged in a star pattern to support a 25,000-pound capstone. This metric shit-ton of rock is all flawlessly arranged into a complex clock, calendar and compass that tracks the sun's east-west migration year-round and focuses a beam of sunlight on the center column at precisely noon each day to pinpoint the day of the year.

Hippies constantly need to be told what day it is.

Joe Fendley, the president of the granite company responsible for the construction of the monument and the only person at the company to have had direct contact with Christian, has since passed away. To this day, only Wyatt Martin, a local banker who assisted with the transfer of the enormous wads of cash used to finance the project, knows the true identity of R. C. Christian, and he's sworn to secrecy.

So What Message Was Worth All This Trouble to Send?

While nothing is clear about the origin of the Georgia Guidestones, the one thing that is generally agreed upon based on the available evidence is that the "guides" inscribed on this monument built to outlast time itself are meant to instruct the survivors of some impending apocalypse on how to avoid the same fate again.

"1. Nothing good can come of robots. 2. NOTHING GOOD CAN COME OF ROBOTS."

The always sane Yoko Ono praised the stones as "a stirring call to rational thinking," but others claim that R. C. Christian was the head of some secret Satanic society and have labeled the stones the "10 Commandments of the Antichrist."

God loves petty laws and useless officials.

So what are these inscriptions that have caused such a fuss? Under the proclamation of "Let These Be Guidestones to an Age of Reason" on the capstone, the eight faces of the stones feature the following statements engraved in English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese and Russian:

1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
2. Guide reproduction wisely -- improving fitness and diversity.
3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
4. Rule passion -- faith -- tradition -- and all things with tempered reason.
5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
9. Prize truth -- beauty -- love -- seeking harmony with the infinite.
10. Be not a cancer on the earth -- Leave room for nature -- Leave room for nature.

"Except for where you want to construct massive blocks of stone, because fuck nature sometimes."

Nothing terrifying about that! You know, except for the part where the number one point calls for over 6.3 billion people currently walking the earth to be dead. That, and the thought that the post-apocalyptic civilization who finds these stones will think that this was some kind of commandment from the ancient wise rulers of Old Earth rather than, you know, one guy who had the cash to buy a bunch of granite.

#4. The Voyager Golden Record


Back when space exploration was still a thing (1977, to be exact), NASA launched the two Voyager spacecraft on their mission to explore the far reaches of our solar system. On board were some quite elaborate messages that could survive to be found by someone (or some thing) a long way away and several thousand years from now.

The idea was inspired by the plaques that had been included on the earlier Pioneer spacecraft, which ignored everything we've learned from every sci-fi movie ever by pinpointing the exact location of our tiny little planet for any advanced alien species who might stumble across them.

"Attention aliens: We're right here. Also, we're naked and defenseless."

With the help of a committee led by Carl Sagan, NASA came up with the Voyager Golden Record -- a phonograph record constructed of gold-plated copper and stored inside an aluminum cover electroplated with uranium-238 (so that the discoverer could determine its age). The cover featured pictorial diagrams describing the location of Earth, the speed at which to play the record and how to decode its contents. No word on whether it also included a pictorial explanation of the concept of "yard saling" to find a record player to play it on.

"Step 3: Offer half the asking price."

Copies of the Golden Record were included on both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, which are still going strong well past their intended lifespan. Voyager 1 is expected to reach the nearest star on its trajectory in just 40 years. What's that? Oh, sorry -- what we meant to say was 40 thousand years.

So What Message Was Worth All This Trouble to Send?

The Voyager Golden Record was basically an attempt to cram everything interesting about 1970s Earth into a bottle, and then drop that infinitesimal bottle into the mind-bogglingly vast ocean of space.

"So do we apologize for Zardoz now or when they come to destroy us?"

The record contains 115 images depicting the variety of life and culture on Earth, as well as a selection of nature sounds, spoken greetings from various world leaders and examples of the kind of music people on Earth listen to. How a group of aliens with no context are supposed to distinguish the nature sounds from the spoken greetings from the music is a mystery. We have a feeling the tentacled travelers from Ursa Minor will show up 500 centuries from now, having reverse engineered our language based on the assumption that Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" is Earth language for "If you find this thing floating in space, please bring it back for a small cash reward."

Either that or they send back a Brian Eno remix.

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