Date: 5/25/6913

Recap for new recruits:

As you know, the dolphins left Earth for reasons unknown to us.  Their last
message to us included the phrase "So long, and thanks for all the fish"
and something about a "treasure" floating around, but we are unclear on what.
The eggheads back on Earth had decoded their message to the attached image.
I hope you all can figure out that it's some kind of solar system.  As we
traveled, Earth has made a few more observations of this system.  First, the
planets seen to move counter-clockwise around the star.  Second, with
respect to the image, planets seem to move 1 space per day.  Third, the
moons travel clockwise around the planets, making a full revolution once
every 4 days.  Fourth, the system is pretty small, so our current
technology can travel to any point over the course of 1 day.

Current status:

We have finally arrived at the system.  Our sensors are still out from
yesterday, but we managed to land on a planet.  Upon landing, we exited
the ship and saw a book set out at the base of the ramp, as if someone
knew exactly where we would land.  Unfortunately, a bowl of petunias
was crushed by our ramp lowering, but the book was in great condition.
Inside the book was the following note.

"Welcome humans!  You've finally made it.  Sorry for the poor
connection, we are heading through a space tunnel at the moment.
Anyway, the 4 images in this book were created by our astronomers
over drinks at some restaurant.  The first one should be pretty
similar to where you are now, with the rest hopefully becoming
clear as you travel to them.  Anyway, you'll need to work quickly
or the pictures will get all out of whack and some kind of time
traveling destroy-the-universe stuff will happen, which is
undesirable for all involved parties.  Before you get your hopes up
too much, the treasure is going to be a random person floating in
the expanse of space.  Please be of some use and pick them up in a
timely manner.  Oh, almost forgot, when you get to the last location,
the guy will be 1GS, which means [static]"

Not sure exactly how it happened, but the note turned into static. There's no time to be confused though, there's a potential time-traveling bug feature to deal with! Oh, and some guy floating in the vast nothingness of space that we should probably save, even if he hasn't ever done anything for us.

Initial image

4 images

  • $\begingroup$ Potential grammatical errors are unintended. $\endgroup$ Feb 23, 2017 at 16:15
  • $\begingroup$ is the $\wedge$GN in the top right corner of the map the direction towards Galactic North? $\endgroup$
    – elias
    Feb 23, 2017 at 21:55

1 Answer 1


As of the writing of the note, the planets and moons are not in the position originally shown because:

The date of the image is 3/27/4824, and the letter (today, for all intents and purposes) is 5/25/6913. Because today need not be included, it's 960281 days later (thanks, http://www.calculator.net/).

Counting the orbital periods from the inside out, they are (in days):
8, 12, 15, 22, 30, 36

Taking the total days mod the orbital period yields the current position, again from the inside out:
1, 5, 11, 3, 11, 17

To add, the orbital period of all the moons is 4 days. 960281 % 4 = 1, so all the moons will be opposite their current orientation.

So the today's orientation of the planets looks like (T+0):

system, fixed

And we know that it will take 1 full day to travel to the other locations, of which there are 3. This means we will need 3 single day iterations, which should look like this:







On the subject of the lower 4 images:

I'm still not sure about the journey, but it looks to me like the lower right image with the eclipse matches with T+3, and the red planet is the one indicated.

So the treasure is ...

As pointed out by @elias the key is shows Galactic North. It should follow then that the note points to Galactic South. Since the journey should end at the red planet, our floating man (Arthur Dent or Ford Prefect, perhaps? ha) will be 1 sector south of the red planet, in empty space.

  • $\begingroup$ great work, but do not forget that planets move counter-clockwise around their sun. $\endgroup$
    – elias
    Feb 23, 2017 at 20:11
  • $\begingroup$ Wow. I read that, but totally forgot when I started counting. That's why none of the other images made sense ... $\endgroup$
    – Matt
    Feb 23, 2017 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Matt Also noteworthy, since the original image is the layout on that day, you do not need to add 1 to the final day total. Example: if "today" was 3/28/4824 the number of days would be 1, not 2. Just wouldn't want you to create the image all over again and it end up off by a single day. $\endgroup$ Feb 23, 2017 at 20:53
  • $\begingroup$ Again, I was struggling to make sense of things. Thanks for the nudge. $\endgroup$
    – Matt
    Feb 23, 2017 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidStarkey I'm done fixing this image, right? :P $\endgroup$
    – Matt
    Feb 23, 2017 at 21:31

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