On the sunny morning of April 5th, 2063, an alien spaceship started orbiting the Earth. Among the cries of "It's an alien spaceship!" and "Ohm my god!" from the people, governments noticed that they were beaming down a colorful message:

V over I equals?

Unfortunately, because of interference from the atmosphere, they were only left with this small fragment.

Can you decode the fragment, and hence guess the entire transmission?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Do we assume aliens speak English here? $\endgroup$
    – Mc Kevin
    Mar 16, 2015 at 7:58
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The decoded message will be in English, and clearly correct. $\endgroup$
    – Tryth
    Mar 16, 2015 at 8:02
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ How do you beam down the color black? Alien technology? $\endgroup$
    – Dorus
    Mar 16, 2015 at 13:13
  • $\begingroup$ Shouldn't brown-black-brown+black-green-black be brown-black-brown+green-black-gold or e.g. gray-black-black+red-green-black? I didn't think the leftmost place was allowed to be black? $\endgroup$
    – supercat
    Mar 16, 2015 at 20:05
  • $\begingroup$ Technically the leftmost bar cannot be black in a real resistor, but I have some artistic license with the puzzle :) $\endgroup$
    – Tryth
    Mar 16, 2015 at 20:25

2 Answers 2


The date given, April 5 2063, is the launch date of the Phoenix spaceship from Star Trek.

The title "Resistance is futile" also alludes to another famous Star Trek phrase. Therefore, the answer is likely to be related to the Star Trek franchise in one way or another.

Translating the code using this table

results in the text:

760 101+050 101+180

101+010 320 101+080

101+110 111 101+030

320 970 111 012 320 (interpreting the 9 as a blank breaks the message)

Interpreting the bars similar to the 3-bar resistor code (with the least significant digit encoding the exponent of 10 when 3 bars exist) results in:

76 100+5 100+18

100+1 32 100+8

100+11 110 100+3

32 97 110 100 32

which decodes to ASCII

Live long and (?)

Assuming the context of Star Trek, the answer is probably

Live long and prosper


I cannot open the image, but clue for everyone who didn't notice:

The header says RESISTANCE is futile and cries of 'OHM y god' OHM is a unit of resistance, it might be a clue

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Wow, excellent! I was just about to edit out the extra M in "Ohm my god", assuming it was a typo - glad I didn't! $\endgroup$ Mar 16, 2015 at 11:29
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Another easter egg- The image description is "V over I equals?" - only noticed that because it failed to load the first time! $\endgroup$
    – Apple
    Mar 16, 2015 at 14:39

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