A spacecraft was found orbiting earth. It was not made by us, but appears to be intended to be received by us. This is a transcription of the engraving on one of its many panels:

Some of the symbols are cut off because the rest of them can't be seen. It is assumed that this is meant to show that the symbols are repeat indefinitely.

The spacecraft contains many panels, each appearing to teach one basic concept with a set of symbols and their meanings. This is the first of such panels, and as such it attempts to teach one basic concept along with the symbols and meanings associated with them.

What basic concept are these symbols trying to teach and what does each symbol mean?


Two more similar lines were found

Hint 2:

All the symbols relate to math, what does each symbol mean?

Hint 3:

These aliens don't seem to be interested in very complex math, they are just showing some basic symbols. Lines are read left to right, top to bottom. The first line says 1+1=2, followed by 2-1=1 on the second line.

While writing up a complete solution, I noticed two lines had slight errors. Line 4 should have the same L at the end in the top right as lines 1-3. The second line of the Hint 1 should have an instead of () in the top right of one box.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ you should address the only answer you have. Give some sort of feedback because I think this question needs more information. Especially since it's been out for almost a month with only one answer. $\endgroup$
    – Colton
    May 9, 2018 at 12:32
  • $\begingroup$ Can you reveal the answer? $\endgroup$
    – m4n0
    Jul 3, 2018 at 1:08
  • $\begingroup$ @ManojKumar I added another hint that should make it easier to solve $\endgroup$
    – pfg
    Jul 9, 2018 at 14:04

2 Answers 2


I think I see the pattern, My guess so far:

)) = $+$
(( = $-$
() = $\times$
)( = $:$
= $=$
L = end of line

thanks to @Thomas Blue, the alien use base-7 so for each line:
$1+ 1= 2$
$2- 1= 1$
$2+ 2= 4$
$4- 1= 3$
$4+ 2= 6$
$6+ 1= 10$
$3 \times 2 = 6$
$5 : 2 = 2.333333$
$30 + 1 = 31$

so I think the basic concept that the alien want to teach is Base-7 (I just learn how the floating point works on another base)

  • $\begingroup$ That's not 7 but 0. They use 7-digit system, thus making division example the 5/2=2.333333... $\endgroup$ Nov 26, 2018 at 11:24
  • $\begingroup$ oh I see.. actually I also guessed it was 5/2=2.333 but I don't know how it works $\endgroup$
    – malioboro
    Nov 26, 2018 at 11:55

Ienter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereThis is a translation of the alien writing on the idea that they are using it to get themselves to Earth.

  • 8
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling? Can you explain why you think this is the intended answer (rather than just a nice story that you're telling)? Answers without explanation are liable to be deleted. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Apr 21, 2018 at 18:45
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The panels appear to be meant for humans to read, not for the aliens to read. The spacecraft appears to have no manual control, and as such would not require instructions on how to get to earth. $\endgroup$
    – pfg
    May 9, 2018 at 17:49
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The spaceship could have been pushed to earth from the outside instead of being flown from the inside. That is why the instructions would be on the outside. Perhaps the aliens don't seed a spaceship to travel, they just pushed the object here because they needed it to orbit the Earth while they are not here. $\endgroup$
    – Erik Gecas
    May 10, 2018 at 17:50

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