Edward Snowden may be best known as the man who exposed the depths of our global surveillance system and as one of Moscow’s more famous residents, but a recent conversation he had with everyone’s favorite space person Neil deGrasse Tyson reminded the world that he’s also an enthusiastic nerd.
Snowden was appearing on an episode of Tyson’s podcast, “StarTalk,” when the two got to talking about aliens and whether we’ll ever be able to communicate with them.
Snowden’s theory was, sadly, that aliens would probably have super-sophisticated encryption on their communications to protect themselves, and that this would render it impossible for humans to be able to unscramble it.
“When we think about everything we’re hearing from our satellites or everything that they’re hearing from our civilization. . . all of their communications are encrypted by default so what we’re hearing that’s actually an alien television show or a phone call. . . is indistinguishable to us from cosmic microwave background information.”
The two men then started talking about “compression” and we’re not afraid to admit that we sort of stopped understanding what they were saying to each other.
Is Snowden right? Are we forever doomed to exist as a lonely people, reaching out into the endless cosmic void and finding no response? What’s that? You didn’t want such existential questions to interrupt your day? OK.
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