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Postcards from Miss Universe

In the 1970s NASA sent a series of unmanned probes into space as part of the ambitious PIONEER and VOYAGER missions. PIONEER 10 was launched in 1972, designed to collect data on Jupiter for just 21 months before flying off into obsolescence. But some science writers and thinkers like Carl Sagan were curious about the longevity of PIONEER 10: what if this probe were to be encountered by an alien intelligence in a million (or billion) years? Sagan suggested inclusion of some kind of communication with the probe -- a "message in a bottle" to a possible distant civilization. NASA welcomed this suggestion and, prior to PIONEER 10's launch, hurriedly devised the "Pioneer Plaque," a gold tablet etched with coded bits of information about our planet and our species. Today, the Pioneer Plaque is still out there traveling somewhere in interstellar space, one of the farthest flung human-made objects in the universe.

Postcards from Miss Universe is a short documentary that recounts the story of the Pioneer Plaque. Taking cues from an expert narrator, and making use of official NASA mission reports and archival media, the film questions the nature of human self identity and the legacies of this grand, galactic project. What can we learn from this human communication across space and time?

Country, Year United States, 2018
DirectorCG Foisy
Runtime7 MINS, 55 SECS
GenreCineSpace, Narrative, Short