The Berners Street Hoax

In 1810 London was the largest, wealthiest city in the world, linked by trade with every continent, and fed by the manufacturing might of northern British cities such as Liverpool and Manchester. Almost anything could be obtained in its shops, and on November 10 all of this mercantile abundance was focused for one brief day upon a single residential address located in a sleepy, middle-class neighborhood: 54 Berners Street.

The Pioneer Plaque

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Wikipedia’s entry about the Pioneer plaque.

On board the unmanned spacecraft Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 is a plaque with a pictoral message from mankind. The plaque shows the figures of a man and a woman along with several symbols that are designed to provide information about the origin of the spacecrafts. It serves as a kind of interstellar “message in a bottle”. However it is very unlikely that it will ever be found. The mean time for the spacecraft to come within 30 astronomical units of a star is longer than the current age of the galaxy.

The Pioneer spacecraft were the first man-made objects to leave the solar system. The plaque is attached to the antenna support struts in a position that shields it from erosion by stellar dust. NASA expects the plaque (and the craft itself) to survive longer than the earth and its sun.