Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Deep-space Request for the Hitchhiker's Guide

Because the Universe wouldn't look as cool without it.
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Some freelance broadcasting station could send out easily detectable radio messages, or failing that, space plaques shot out at high speeds out of the solar system, with a simple message - an order of that wholly remarkable book, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". The plaque could detail a little of what humans look like, the general shape of the solar system, and a small picture of a laptop-ish device with "Don't Panic" printed in large friendly letters on the cover. With any luck, in sixty or seventy years (guesstimate time for a radio message to get there, and for the aliens to get here, I'd hope) a copy will drop down here along with disgruntled aliens looking for pay. We can pay, kidnap, or shoot the aliens (whichever), humanity will know of all the secrets of travelling the Universe, and if we can't build rocket engines out of the instructions inside, the least we can do is hitch rides out.

(Obviously not serious at all. *grin*)

Delcan, Apr 11 2002

Voyager's greatest hits http://vraptor.jpl....ssages/VgrCover.jpg
Show those nutty alien kids how to play the record and get hip to Earth's groovy vibes. [waugsqueke, Apr 12 2002]

Grabber's link http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2/guide/
if you know how to annotate, you know how to link. [sappho, Apr 12 2002]

Grabber's link http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2/guide/
if you know how to annotate, you know how to link. [sappho, Oct 21 2004]

Missions outbound http://www.heavens-...om/solar-escape.asp
Pioneers ain't Voyagers (posted in response to a now-deleted anno claiming they were the same craft) [lurch, Nov 20 2005, last modified Nov 24 2005]

Inter-planetary spacecraft http://www.nineplan...org/spacecraft.html
Guide to the NASA unmanned spacecraft [csea, Nov 20 2005]

[link]






       Legend has it that at least one of us has seen the HHGTTG and it ain't all that useful.
phoenix, Apr 11 2002
  

       Share and enjoy! (lol)
wess, Apr 11 2002
  

       The aliens already think we're idiots. Do you really want them to think we're even more foolish?
Morbius, Apr 11 2002
  

       I think the aliens are idiots already. Either that or extreme intergalactic perverts. Who else would come all this way to violate cows and humans in that end? Either somebeing really bored or somebeing wanting really bad to get off. *grin* Humanity can't be much worse.
Delcan, Apr 11 2002
  

       On a serious note, the Viking and Voyager probes sent through the outer solar system actually have plaques with human figures and a map of the the stars to point out where we are in the milky way...just in case it happens to run into intelligent life in the future, when it has exited the solar system.
xomix, Apr 11 2002
  

       [begin astro-pedantry]
Viking was a Mars lander mission (two of them, actually), and will not leave the solar system unless Mars does also, which would suck, 'cause I like Mars.
  

       Voyagers I & II do not carry the plaque you describe - that would be Pioneers 10 and 11, which have already left the solar system. The Voyagers, which have also already left the solar system, do carry a small plaque indicating the place of origin, but their big surprise payload is a gold 'record' containing 'greetings' from Earth in many different languages, as well as a bunch of different sounds of nature, and some music bits, from Beethoven to Elvis. I think there are also some images stored on it also. And another small engraving showing how to play the damn thing.
[end astro-pedantry]
  

       I think Delcan was intentionally lampooning the Pioneer plaque with this idea.
waugsqueke, Apr 12 2002
  

       is anyone familiar with http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2/guide/ ? I don't completely know how to add it as a link, but it IS a veritable HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy, created by the late Douglas Adams himself. Fun place.
Grabber, Apr 12 2002
  

       Huh? In what sense? The same spacecraft? No, launched several years apart. The same model? No, more sophisticated. What do you mean? I don't understand.
nineteenthly, Nov 21 2005
  
      
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