On May 18,2021, a mysterious video was posted on our Instagram, Twitter and Tiktok pages.
Random numbers on a black screen, with no explanation…
It took very little time to the Spacefox community to start investigating on the meaning of the video.
Knowing our love for riddles, it was not too long before the community understood what was secretly at stake. The hours following the publication of the video were very intense for some people. Many of you sent us theories, questions and messages of despair…
We are now going to explain to you how to solve this riddle, step by step.
It took the winner a solid week to find the solution.
The different steps of the riddle
It is 6 pm when the video with numbers is posted on our social media. These numbers represented an ASCII code, which once decoded, was the IP address of a server hosting one image.
The ASCII code: (104 116 116 112 58 47 47 49 57 50 46 57 57 46 50 46 52 50 47)
The server’s link: http://220.127.116.11/
‘The American Standard Code for Information Interchange, better known by its acronym ASCII, is a coding standard for characters which appeared in the 1960s. To this day, it has been the most influential coding standard.’
By playing on contrast and light, it was possible to find a series of letters and numbers representing the end of a YouTube URL at the bottom left of the image.
There was also fake information in its ‘exif’, to make it a bit more difficult, but also a link to a Discord server, that we had set up.
This server allowed other participants to join, in order to help each other, or for the smarter ones, to put the competition on the wrong track. The participants could talk to us, Elon and Willie..
The video is a still frame of the Voyager Golden Record ‘The sound of the earth’, included aboard both Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977, used as an ‘interstellar message in a bottle’ intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form that may exist.
In this video was played the music of the singer Willie Blind Johnson, ‘Dark was the night’, which was part of the musics of the Voyager Golden Record. But not only…
Indeed, if you listened carefully, you could hear a Morse code spread throughout the audio track.
This code was a phone number.
If you called this phone number, you could hear a synthetic voice giving a series of letters and numbers corresponding to the WOW signal.
The WOW signal was detected by the telescope ‘The Big Ear 1’ on August 15, 1977. An unexplained electromagnetic noise 30 times higher than the noise surrounding the telescope at the time. A wave that seemed to have all the characteristics of a radio signal of extraterrestrial origin. However, if it lasted 72 seconds, it was only detected once. Consequently, it was difficult to confirm its extraterrestrial origin.
Once the participants understood the connexion with the WOW signal, they had to do research on the Internet to be able to find the image above.
Thereafter, you had to simply put the WOW code in the right order and transform it into a link to end up on this website: 6EQUJ567.com
On the website, a wallpaper where it was written the name Constantin was displayed.
The purpose of this second website was to test the patience of the participants and put them on tracks which did not exist.
Yes, it was a bit mischievous, but seeing your reactions on the Discord was a lot of fun.
The name ‘Constantin’ referred to the Saint Constantin celebrated on Friday, May 21. Date on which the visual of the website was going to change.
On May 21, we were celebrating the Saint Constantin, and the website was therefore updated. You could see a series of letters: ‘NQWPWLHVBYSWQUVWQKXUGXGHGK’. In addition, the website was titled ‘Stargate’. It did not take long to the participants to understand that it was an encrypted code using the ‘Porta Cipher’.
The Porta algorithm requires a key in order to decipher the hidden message.
This key (Lune) was hidden in the source code of the website..
The result after decoding was: FACEBOOKWILLIEBLINDJOHNSON
By searching for ‘Willie Blind Johnson’ on Facebook, it was possible to find a profile with a post containing a series of letters and a post with a picture of the MARINER 10 T-shirt of the SOLAR WIND collection.
Mariner 10 was the last space probe of the Mariner programme of the NASA. It was launched on November 3, 1973, to study the planets Venus and Mercury and the characteristics of the interplanetary medium. Mariner 10 is the first probe to have flown past Mercury.
It is also the name which was given to one of the T-shirts of the SOLAR WIND collection, in tribute to the probe.
This series of characters was encrypted with the Vigenère cipher.
The Vigenère method is an encryption system requiring a key in order to decode the content of the hidden message, the same way as with the ‘Porta Cipher’.
The key to decipher the message was ‘MARINER’ in reference, once again, to the name of the T-shirt.
The end of the message was encrypted by using the CODEBOOK technique.
The codebook technique consists of encrypting a message by using a book as a reference, each character having a position in the book: Page No: Line No: Letter No.
- 55:19:25 165:7:19 13:4:27 91:1:32
- 26:6:33 168:14:34 2:1:31 64:44:22 132:9:1 178:16:14
On the basis of the text ‘Between Venus and Mercury, you are the number one in my team’, the book to be found was ‘The voyage of Mariner 10’.
Link of the book: https://books.google.fr/books?id=MU0gAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&hl=fr&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
Once the message decrypted, you obtained the code -T/HF-ABD.BA, which converted in numbers, was: -20,86 - 124,21.
It corresponded to the coordinates of the BEETHOVEN crater on MERCURY.
BEETHOVEN was therefore the final answer to this riddle.