My close personal acquaintance, Mr. Phillip T. Stephens, alerted me to transmissions that NASA has detected between Mars and Europa, a moon of Jupiter. Read about this startling discovery in his detailed exposé. I was very busy trying to re-activate one of the old Voyager probes, but that's another story. Indeed, as indicated by NASA analysts, the signal appeared to be coded not in binary, but in a seemingly uninterpretable monary code. To quote from Mr. Stephens research:

As soon as I read Mr. Stephens update I aimed my receiver back at Mars. I had completely missed the transmissions bound for Europa. After a couple of days of listening to noise and deep space rumblings I finally locked onto the very weak transmission. I too was mystified by the seemingly "monary" content of the signal. I even let a slight chuckle slip when I thought of analyzing very large values of zero (0,000,000) and comparing them with very small values of zero (.0000000).

I pondered the meaning of the signal for several hours to no avail. Finally, just before bedtime on Aug. 15, I poured myself a bowl of salsa and grabbed a spoon. I was almost done when it dawned on me. The signal is not digital. It is an analog video signal! The pulses that the JPL scientists thought were delineating digital zeros are actually the scan pulses of an amplitude modulated video signal with no carrier! I spent most of the day Aug 17th processing a sample I recorded earlier in the week. The image did not resolve well. The algorithm I used seemed to have errors in it. Here is a sample of the first attempt to decode the image.

Unfortunately, the corrections required far more computing horsepower than I have at my disposal. Serendipitously, I got a phone call from an old buddy of mine in New Mexico where just last week the largest multi-node parallel processing computer (over 9,000 inter-connected pemtius chips) in the world was delivered. The installation was running way ahead of schedule, and I convinced my friend to allow me a few hours of time on the system to complete the processing of the image. So, I loaded up my VW bus that evening and left my home here in Oregon for New Mexico at the crack of dawn. After making adjustments to the algorithm and enduring several hours of number crunching, this image emerged.

Still not satisfied with the results, I re-assessed my position. Because the original signal was so incredibly weak, I was still suspicious of the quality of the data I had to work with. A little recognized analog signal interference factor is solar wind. Since most modern long range communications today are digital, they are less effected by solar wind. Analog signals, on the other hand, are quite sensitive to SWI (solar wind interference). Few communications experts really attempt to deal with the effects of solar wind because of the difficulty of tracking its intensity. An extremely stable radio beacon is required to accurately calculate the effects of solar wind. Since the equipment I used to record the Europa signal was very broadband, I searched the spectrum for another radio source. The GPS navigation system proves to be the perfect beacon for solar wind detection and interference correction. After adjusting for SWI, which actually results in sort of a Doppler effect, this image emerged.

Feeling much encouraged, I immediately re-programmed the system to eliminate the additional algorithms I had previously implemented to clean up the signal, and very quickly (.9ns!) the monster computer delivered this image.

Now, usually the right answer is the most obvious. A digitally recorded analog signal is still subject to standard digital distortions. So, I used a method I routinely use, trinary values resolved to binary using deep space background noise. The result? Take a look! Notice the rather obvious similarities to these very well known images.

As an aside, before I left for New Mexico, I e-mailed a preliminary image to Mr. Stephens. Not entirely unexpectedly, the image was intercepted by some branch of the technical paranoia police. The image was converted from binary to hex, and he was not able to view it. He did, however, make an amazing discovery. I am not at liberty to reveal what he is currently working on, but I will give you this hint of where he is looking. This is REALLY exciting stuff!

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