I was wondering if the microgroove golden records they put on the Voyager spacecraft, or the Arecibo message, along with instruction on how to decode it, were first put to the test with the subjects most likely to decode them, i.e. humans.

I would suppose they were, as Carl Sagan, who was part of the team who designed the messages, takes the complementary stance in Contact to have humans decode an alien message, but incidentally the alien message mentioned looks quite too close, both in methodology and content, to what humans sent a decade earlier, non-fictionally, on the Voyagers.

So, did they test whether or not if these messages are decodable, and was a 100% interpretation achieved?


Around pages 49ff., in chapter 2 of Carl Sagan's "Murmurs of Earth" (1978), Frank Drake describes how in 1960 he presented a test message encoded like the Arecibo message to a group of scientists called the Order of the Dolphin+, and was "depressingly shocked" that not a single receipient managed to decode it.

+The Order contained 11 scientists interested in SETI; among others: Carl Sagan, Nobel prize winner Melvin Calvin, dolphin expert John Lilly.


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