NASA has announced that it will broadcast a 4 minute digital data stream toward the direction of Polaris, the North Star. The broadcast will originate from the Deep Space Network and will feature the Beatles song “Across the Universe“. 

Again, NASA has neglected to solicit my advice. I would have suggested “I am the Walrus“.

Imagine an you’re alien sitting in a remote antenna site with headphones over your ear stalks when all of a sudden Day Tripper appears over the background noise. [I like the dancers- it’s just so 60’s]

Of course, when the signal is received on planet Pffthklct-3 many centuries from now, someone some sentient mollusk will have to clean up the signal and reduce it to audio to get the full effect of music. Doppler effect arising from relative motions between earth and “them” would affect the tempo, perhaps in comical ways.  It would be tragic if hopeful listeners in the depths of space mistook it as a kind of Encyclopedia Galactica and henceforth tried to decrypt it while looking for some kind of blueprint of advanced technology a la Carl Sagan’s fictional piece “Contact”.

Though an audience is a long shot, it seems a fitting tribute to the Beatles and to NASA.

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