Message From Space

Ten civilized planets may exist within 1,000 light-years of the earth, according to the calculations of a German astronomer. There is even a chance that scientists on one of them may be sending out “to whom it may concern” broadcasts for the information of the galaxy. Presumably discouraged by what he sees on terrestrial TV, this scholar is doing his bit for peace by watching for signals from outer space. Time reports that he feels our best hope of survival is to get advice from a planet that has had atomic war.

If some scientific reader can advise me on how to rig my TV to a telescope, I am ready to volunteer as a space watcher. I only insist on knowing the mathematical probability of tuning in cigarette commercial from some plutocratic planet in the Milky Way: “Stardust travels the smoke fifty light-years further!”

The German astronomer, however, hopes to contact an old, wise civilization, matured far beyond our callow earth. He may run into trouble if they have already been watching the Flintstones.

My enthusiasm for this project is ebbing. I have made calculations of my own, using the multiplication table on the back of my composition book. If we file an SOS now, and the nearest planet in shape to respond is 500 light-years away, it will be a solid millennium before we can look for an answer. By that time there might be a Republican administration in Moscow.

Pastor Peterson was fascinated by the Time clipping. As usual, he was reminded of a text: “For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not too hard for thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?” (Deut. 30:11,12). ...

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