The roadster got all the press, but the Falcon Heavy's dummy payload had a tiny additional payload, a digitized copy of Asimov's Foundation Trilogy etched onto a quartz disk designed to endure for millions of years.
Stephen Wolfram, a project advisor, provided a long reflection on the challenges of leaving a meaningful memento for an unknown posterity. It is hard enough for us to figure out what ancient human civilizations had in mind.
- A few years ago I was visiting a museum and looking at little wooden models of life in ancient Egypt that had been buried with some king several millennia ago. “How sad,” I thought. “They imagined this would help them in the afterlife. But it didn’t work; instead it just ended up in a museum.” But then it struck me: “No, it did work! This is their ‘afterlife’!” And they successfully transmitted some essence of their life to a world far beyond their own.
He describes the artificial structures most conspicuous from space, and the difficulty of distinguishing them from natural features.
There's a long critique of the various artifacts and messages already sent into the cosmos, including many important signatures, dirty doodles, Lego toys, and a memorial sculpture "strangely reminiscent of the figurines we find in early archaeological remains."
Radio messages were beamed out, receiving no response, like lonely Hubski posts.
(Somewhere on Hubski, long ago, I left a comment with the Arecibo message in binary, which also got no response, and I am unable to find it now.)
So what should we send? Wolfram suggests that we might send a copy of Wolfram|Alpha, perhaps shedding light on the article title "Showing Off to the Universe." But he has plenty to show off: among the many browser tabs this article generated was a long footnote from A New Kind of Science which reminded me of a never-published trip report.