voyager contact
Old Television
Humans have actually been sending messages to the stars since the discovery of radio almost 100 years ago and the first television broadcasts earlier this century.

This means that among the first interstellar notices of our existence were the original episodes of I Love Lucy, first broadcast around 40 years ago. By now Lucy and Desi have travelled 40 light years into our surrounding neighborhood, an area inhabited by roughly 100 stars.

If anyone out there is paying attention, they could also pick up: news of the Viet Nam War and the first man on the Moon; Watergate and Soul Train; Dynasty, the Iran/Contra hearings, and Cheers; America's Funniest Home Videos and The Simpsons; and, of course, Seinfeld.

Certainly almost none of this has been broadcast commercial-free; as Carl Sagan asked in Cosmos, "what must they think of us?"

For more on Luci, Desi, and the search
for extraterrestrial signals, read our interview
with Dr. Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute.

©1997 Warner Bros.