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01 JANUARY 2004

Pioneer 10: betraying assumed and privileged cultural codes

"We have sent several inscribed messages into space. The two Voyager probes each carry a long–playing record of 'The Sounds of Earth' and both Pioneer craft, the first manmade objects to leave our Solar System, bear plaques charting their route, along with a picture of naked humans waving a greeting. A similar alien salutation could be waiting on Earth for us, says Rose"
(Mark Peplow, Nature News)

Rose C. & Wright G. Nature, 431. 47 – 49(2004).

[On the 3rd of March 1972 NASA launched the Pioneer 10 interstellar probe (spacecraft) into deep space. Attached to it was a plaque designed to communicate something of what it meant to be from Earth. It attempted to present a generalised view of humanity stripped of all cultural and social difference (a normative view). Despite this noble aim the plaque couldn't help but betray its assumed (and privileged) cultural codes. Its focus on Terrestrial life was unmistakably: Human; ethnically Anglo–Saxon (logically North American); heterosexual and 1960s – 70s.]

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