The Speed Of Dark’s contribution to Christmas 2012 is a new short story called Santa Comes Down The Wormhole featuring our cherished aliens, smolin9 and polkingbeal67.
One of my favourite bits is where smolin9 and polkingbeal67 listen to the greetings on the Voyager Golden Record and find one that translates to “Friends of space, how are you all? Have you eaten yet?” Smolin9 interprets this as an invitation to dinner on planet Earth.
The greeting is genuine, i.e. it was included on the Golden Record as a colloquial message in Amoy, an ancient Chinese dialect also known as Xiamenese or Xiamen.
As well as greetings in 55 languages, the Golden Record, estimated to have a shelf life of one billion years, contains music from around the world, a variety of natural and manufactured sounds along with printed messages from President Carter and U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim. These were recorded onto two identical 12-inch gold-plated copper discs and attached to the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 space probes along with a cartridge, a needle and symbolic instructions explaining how the record should be played. The probes were launched in 1977.
A NASA committee headed by Carl Sagan and Annie Druyan was responsible for selecting the sounds and images on the record. The idea was to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth throughout our history.
Other interesting greetings on the Golden Record include:
“Greetings to you, whoever you are; we have good will towards you and bring peace across space.” (in Latin)
“Hope everyone’s well. We are thinking about you all. Please come here to visit when you have time.” (in Mandarin)
Enjoy the story!