In their excitement to encounter extraterrestrials from other planets, scientists launched four maps into deep space that would give aliens the route to Earth. But now, the man who sent those maps in the 1970s fears it may have been a bad idea after all as aliens could conquer the world.
An article published by National Geographic revealed this fear by American astronomer Frank Drake, who worked with NASA to design pulsar maps that were placed inside probes that have now left the solar system. If intercepted and decoded by aliens, the maps will pinpoint our location in the galaxy.
The directional maps were developed in 1971 and placed on the Pioneer 10 and 11. They were also placed on the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft. The maps were engraved on plaques plotting Earth's position using distant pulsar stars that could direct aliens to us if found millions of years from now.
The article, written by Drake's daughter, revealed his apprehension from their action more than 40 years ago. He said scientists in those days were optimistic that aliens would be friendly, and nobody thought contacting them might be a dangerous thing to do.
Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking warned last year that "meeting an advanced civilization could be like Native Americans encountering Columbus." He added: "That didn't turn out so well. Aliens could be rapacious marauders roaming the cosmos in search of resources to plunder, and planets to conquer and colonize."
While Drake now regrets sending maps into space, he is counting these would not be found by ETs. This is because the spaceships travel at a speed of only 10 kilometers per second and will take half a million years before they reach another star. This could mean that the probes may just float silently into space forever without being detected by intelligent life forms.