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Backward Compatility And Mars

NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander has a mini-DVD attached to its hull. According to NASA, “The mini-DVD from the Planetary Society contains a message to future Martian explorers, science fiction stories and art inspired by the Red Planet, and the names of more than a quarter million earthlings.”

I’m not sure when the first humans are scheduled to step foot on the Red Planet, but with the way the CE industry comes up with new video standards, I wonder if they will be able to view it when they finally arrive. If NASA was smart, it would stockpile a bunch of DVD players right now so they can properly equip their ships. It would be a bummer to show up in 50 years, find the Phoenix and not be able to see what was on the disc.

I also wonder about the solid gold record attached to the Voyager space probe back in the 1970s. It was originally intended by astronomer Carl Sagan as a way to introduce humanity to any alien races that happen to stumble across it.

But what would it mean if the record was found and played? Perhaps that the format wars on their planet are even worse than ours.