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197. Television Bouncing Back

20 Dec

[Edit: It has been brought to my attention, and confirmed by extra research, that this incident was an April Fools Joke. Still, it is an interesting joke, so the article shall remain and I have adjusted the ending so that you may learn something. Enjoy!]

In 2009, some listeners in received some peculiar signals hailing from the gulf of space. The listeners were at the Arecibo Observatory, a vast white dip 305m across in Puerto Rico. It pointed out to space and listened, this space sound seemed oddly familiar. When Radio Astronomer Dr Venn saw these signals he recognised them at once. They occupied the band between 41 and 68 MHz. The band used for old television broadcasts.

His team and a team from the BBC set to work boosting the signals and digitally enhancing the resulting images. the results were surprising in their fidelity, after capturing 7 weeks of footage they managed to reveal that some of the footage included images of fish people, mutant solonians and a host of other barely explainable images. The BBC team had managed to recover original episodes of Doctor Who, the longest running Science Fiction show of all time which still graces many television screens.

...from the depths of space

This was not a case of stray satellite or aliens putting on repeats, it was a case of reflection. By dating the recordings found the teams discovered that the broadcasts were 47 years old. Also these were not repeats but the original broadcasts in their entirety. They had flown out into space and the speed of light, hit the ‘bounce anomaly’ 24 light years away and come back from the depths of space so that we could all enjoy our old Doctor Who episodes again.

Now, unfortunately this was a joke, but the science behind it is very feasible.Television was one of the first pieces of technology to announce our presence throughout space, sending out signals that can easily be picked up by anything they run into. In fact many believe that if we do contact other life, this is how they shall find us. Because compared to the unimaginable gulf of space, we are horrendously noisy.

Even now most of the signals carry on, unimpeded in space. They have reached nearby solar systems and have carried on, far beyond our aged Voyager probes, carrying an unintended flag and message. The Voyager space probes carry sound, position and even human blood upon them. Yet the television signals tells anything that will listen about us. They show what we love, what we hate and what we do. Even how we work, much more detail than is contained on those simple probes.

It is not irrational to think that at some point in space and time, sentient life will see our shows, our brilliant, bemusing broadcasts. If they can arrange them correctly they would be able to see a corrupted, fuzzy version of the original broadcasts, and who knows what they might think. If all goes well, they might even be impressed.

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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Articles

 

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