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MESSAGES » TO » THE

CORRODED, WRECKED, AND HALF-BURIED FOR 2,000 years like an accidental time capsule, the Statue of Liberty that looms over Charlton Heston in the final scene of the original Planet of the Apes is a literal symbol of humanity’s missteps: a horrible communiqué from the distant past about atomic annihilation. In the real world, many linguists, designers, and scientists are puzzling over how to intentionally send millennia-spanning messages to recipients whose languages, senses, and fears could bear little resemblance to our own. The projects these forwardthinkers dream up aim to convey clues about our existence, hellos to extraterrestrials, or warnings about nuclear waste—like postcards that will be legible to beings 1,000, 5,000, even 10,000 years ahead.

A LUNAR TIME CAPSULE

on the moon. Among the roughly 400,000 pounds of human-made lunar detritus is a tiny ceramic wafer on a leg of

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