Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Check for alien life

Reach out with music.
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(+3, -1)
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A spacecraft with solar arrays and a large battery is landed on comets of long orbital duration. When the comets are at apogee the spacecraft will broadcast vile thrash music on various frequencies to the extent of the battery. Upon return to our orbit the solar array will once again charge the battery and transmission will again commence. Scientists will check to see if the system is working, if the playlist is the same or has been reprogrammed, and whether the entire contraption has been vandalized or removed and replaced with something else.
whatrock, Oct 13 2018

A serious version of this idea in reverse. https://en.wikipedi...endezvous_with_Rama
[whatrock, Jun 08 2020]

Voyager probes https://voyager.jpl...gov/mission/status/
Still less than 1 light-day distant [kdf, Jun 08 2020]


       One slight problem: comets don’t leave the Solar System.
DrCurry, Oct 13 2018

       //at apogee   

       If they flub the course, do they release a apogee apology?
not_morrison_rm, Oct 13 2018

       / One slight problem: comets don’t leave the Solar System /   

       Fixed, thanks.
whatrock, Oct 13 2018

       Basically, the idea was to have a sort of indicator or beacon on something that regularly reaches far beyond our usual monitoring area; a comet with a decades-long orbit would do nicely. While we have sent out interstellar probes containing our information they're only useful if aliens wish to plot a return course. But a passing alien on its way to Magrathea could interact with a comet-mounted device and never have to visit us in person.
whatrock, Jun 06 2020


       1) I think you meant aphelion (furthest point from Sol) rather than apogee (furthest from Earth).   

       2) Short period comets (orbits only “decades long”) are still so close to Earth that it’s hardly worth putting a beacon on them. A ship passing through te neighborhood would find the Earth itself - all of its radio noise and distinctive atmosphere - easier to spot and more interesting than a lone pirate radio station.   

       3) Long period comets have orbits that take centuries. Good luck budgeting THAT project. And even if you do, anything with a closed orbit is STILL closer to Sol than the nearest stars, and Earth itself still a noisier radio object than anything you could land on a comet.
kdf, Jun 07 2020

       If interest is peaked, having a quick peak at a lone piece of technology is far better than dealing with the mess. Also wouldn't this be a set and let amateurs check deal, as technology will advance as the centuries pass.
wjt, Jun 07 2020

       What's wrong with "apoapsis"?
Voice, Jun 07 2020

       What would be the VALUE of apoapsis? I mean, in the context of whatrock’s suggestion, that someone passing through would detect the beacon and interact with it.   

       Never thought I’d say this, but I miss the borg. He was much better than than me at smacking down silly ideas. Of course, if he shows up again it probably won’t be long before I resume telling him to drop dead...
kdf, Jun 07 2020

       You don't have to stop just because he's not here.
pocmloc, Jun 07 2020

       “you don’t have to stop”
Stop which? Smacking down silly ideas or telling him to drop dead?
kdf, Jun 07 2020

pocmloc, Jun 07 2020

       At least it isn't a way to modulate the Sun's brightness
sninctown, Jun 08 2020

       If someone is just passing through, we can't make judgements on their level of technology.
wjt, Jun 08 2020

       This silly idea originated while studying the Voyager deep space probes, each containing information on humans and Earth. Intelligent species could intercept a probe, learn about it and us and perhaps plot a reciprocal course to visit us. And since both probes were launched over 40 years ago perhaps this has already happened.   

       The problem is that the probes are one-way emissaries; aside from their continued meager transmitted info have they encountered intelligent life? Using what we have, how could we send something a great distance and have it return, and know if it had some effect?
whatrock, Jun 08 2020

       "Using what we have..."
Radio is still the way to go for SETI and CETI efforts "using what we have." Fund a project to routinely send messages and listen for potential signals from Arecibo or Tianyan.

       "...how could we send something a great distance and have it return, and know if it had some effect?"
We can't. Not if you' insist on a physical object out and back in a length of time somewhat shorter than all of recorded human history. 42 years on, the Voyage probes are still less than 1 light-day out.
kdf, Jun 08 2020

       //We can't.// I was always told, "there's no such word as "can't"". I used to think that was slightly paradoxical, mind.
pocmloc, Jun 08 2020

       "We can't" within the framework whatrock offered: "using what we have."   

       With current technology it may be barely possible to send something to the heliopause and get it back within a typical human lifetime. But that would be probably be the least cost effective, least likely way to attract the attention of anyone passing through the solar system. An Earthbound radio telescope broadcasting a signal would be a lot more noticeable.
kdf, Jun 08 2020

       If the Extraterrestrials are even into our radio waves rather than moving tiny unnatural specks against the void. I would have thought a thorough grounding in void dynamics would be fundamental to interstellar engine design.
wjt, Jun 14 2020

       In my opinion FTL really is impossible, meaning time dilation via going super duper fast (a technical term), robots, and generation ships are the only way to go. Those don't necessarily need any understanding of void dynamics.
Voice, Jun 14 2020

       Even going near super duper fast will need an understanding of the traversed space. Although, void dynamics may open higher dimensions. Or at the very least, help access to exceptional amounts of energy and the control thereof.
wjt, Jun 14 2020


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