How would explain humanity to another race? What would you include? Would you use pictures? Sound? Math?
What does it mean to live on Earth? To be human?
When we launched the Voyager 1 space probe we included all of these things with the hope that some other lifeforms would discover them and learn about us. You can view all of them on this web page.
This photograph stood out to me about how we explain what Earth is and why life has been able to take hold: how our atmosphere keeps us just warm enough to survive. Notice that the fraction of carbon dioxide is 3/10000. If we sent a space probe out to interstellar space it would need to say 4/10000 too before long.
The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
David Wogan is an engineer and policy researcher who writes about energy, technology, and policy.
David's academic and professional background includes a unique blend of technology and policy in the field of energy systems. Most recently, David worked at Austin Energy, a Texas municipal utility, implementing a Department of Energy stimulus grant related to energy efficiency. Previously, David was a member of the Energy & Climate Change team at the White House Council on Environmental Quality for the Obama Administration.
David holds two Master's degrees from The University of Texas at Austin in Mechanical Engineering and Public Affairs. While at UT, David was a researcher in the Webber Energy Group, where his research focused on advanced biofuel production to offset petroleum use in the transportation sector. David holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin, where he researched nuclear non-proliferation measurement technology.
David is a 2013 Aspen Institute Journalism Scholar, joining a select group of journalists from Slate, ABC News, and The New York Times.