I Can’t Shut Up About NASA’s Nudes

We come in peace ;) Illustration: The Cut

If love is the universal language and a picture is worth a thousand words, then blasting some nudes into space must be the best way to let the aliens know how horny we are to meet them. This is what I gather from a recent proposal developed by a group of NASA researchers hoping to send a new message from Earth to extraterrestrials. The proposed message includes a drawing of DNA, a simple representation of a world map, a diagram about gravity, and two very pixelated illustrations of a naked man and woman. Houston, are you flirting with me?

The project, dubbed “A Beacon in the Galaxy,” is scientists’ latest effort to make contact with other intelligent (sensual?) life in the universe. The message would be written in binary code, which experts believe is our most decipherable form of communication. (I would argue D’Angelo’s “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” gets the message across much clearer.) So we aren’t just transmitting graphic dick pics to the aliens. A closer equivalent would be writing “boobs” on a calculator. See?

Illustration: Jonathan H. Jiang, Hanjie Li, Matthew Chong, Qitian Jin, Philip E. Rosen, Xiaoming Jiang, Kristen A. Fahy, Stuart F. Taylor, Zhihui Kong, Jamilah Hah, Zong-Hong Zhu

Aw, they’re waving! And naked! Our natural human form. I can’t wait for the aliens to arrive on Earth like, “So some of you have a V down there and others have … a couple of lumpy circles? Very cool.”

This isn’t the first time we’ve transmitted pictures of our privates into space. As Scientific American notes, the plaques sent on the Pioneer missions in the early 1970s included illustrations of a naked man and woman. In comparison to these newly proposed images, those seem significantly more graphic given their clarity.

A few pixels in the shape of a vagina is far from the most bizarre thing humans have sent into space. We’ve sent a recording of the Beatles’s “Across the Universe” — a little on the nose, which is probably why we’ve never heard back. We’ve sent gold records that included “sounds of Earth” and 115 different images like a woman breastfeeding and people licking ice cream. We’ve sent a “message in a bottle” composed of 3,775 worldwide answers to the question “How will our present environmental interactions shape the future?” We’ve sent another message from a group of Russian teens. And yet another still that included an invitation to a Klingon opera in the Netherlands — it was written in Klingon. We’ve sent a delivery pizza, pictures from Playboy, and Jeff Bezos. More recently, people have tried to put up a space “billboard” and a space film-production studio and sports arena. We’ve even sent a Doritos ad to space. So maybe we don’t deserve to be classified as intelligent life.

Unlike previous signals, this new message would include information about where Earth is located — something Discovery said was the most “controversial” part of the project. There’s long been debate about whether we should be trying to contact alien life at all given the potential risks. God forbid we hope for an E.T. situation and end up with more of a Signs one. However, researchers believe a species able to achieve complex, interstellar communication “will know the importance of peace and collaboration.”

Regardless, don’t get your hopes up at the prospect of contacting some horny aliens in our area. The message, which would be transmitted from a huge telescope like China’s Five-Hundred-Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope, would be directed at a cluster of old stars about 13,000 light-years from the Milky Way’s galactic center. For context, Earth is about 25,000 light-years from the center of the galaxy. So even if they text us back right away — embarrassing! — we’ll already be long gone.

NASA Wants to Send Nudes to Space