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Project to blast gold-plated artifact disc into orbit

Lucas Mearian | Oct. 4, 2012
The Last Pictures project is scheduled to blast off this fall, sending a communications satellite into space with a gold-plated, photo-filled disc attached to it that is meant to be a cultural artifact for aliens to find.

MIT used a machine to etch the photos into the silicon using a bitmap format to create a binary image.

Once the images were etched, one question remained for everyone involved in the project. What impression might aliens get from the artifact?

"I think one part of me thinks it will mean nothing at all to them. That part of me understands the way we see images now is very culturally specific," Paglen said. "But I also worked with scientists at MIT and those guys thought these images would be found by robots, and those robots would understand what they meant."


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