The MRX20 probe was sent to Mars by the Inter-Continental Space Agency (ICSA) a few years ago. It was due to return to planet Earth just a few days ago. The probe collected a large amount of samples from the Martian soil and took thousands of high definition pictures of Mars. Initial analysis performed on site by the probe's Artificial Intelligence seems to indicate that the probe may contain strong evidence that there is life on Mars.
Unfortunately just a few thousand miles away from Earth, the probe collided with an unidentified geostationary satellite. It was pulverised into small pieces. Most of these were either lost in space or burnt down when entering the Earth's atmosphere. A few pieces did pierce through the atmosphere and crashed on Earth in various locations all around the globe.
The ICSA sent a team of Probe Debris Collectors (PDCs) to locate the various parts and submit back to the ICSA the exact locations and pictures of the debris found. Each PDC has been instructed to communicate with the ICSA using a secure connection using a range of encoding/encryption techniques.
The What3Words (W3W) geo-localisation system is used to inform of the exact location of the debris. Your mission is to decode the secured transmission messages to locate the position of the debris and to retrieve all the information that has been retrieved from the debris. Use this information to find out what you can learn about the existence of life on planet Mars.
Mission 1: Secure Transmission Feed
Message #1 - received at 7:46am - Encryption: Pigpen Cipher
Message #2 - received at 8:54am - Encryption: Pigpen Cipher
Message #3 - received at 9:08pm - Encoding: Morse Code
Message #4 - received at 10:51am - Encoding: Morse Code
Message #5 - received at 11:42pm - Encoding: Nautical Signal Flags
Message #6 - received at 12:16pm - Encoding: Nautical Signal Flags
Message #7 - received at 16:17pm - Encoding: Semaphore
Message #8 - received at 19:28pm - Encoding: Semaphore
Message #9 - received at 20:25pm - Encryption: Railfence Cipher
Message #10 - received at 21:34pm - Encryption: Railfence Cipher
Message #11 - received at 22:02pm - Encryption: Caesar Shift
Message #12 - received at 23:56pm - Encryption: Caesar Shift
After decoding all 12 messages, input the three words from each of the received messages in the table below.
Use the what3words.com geo-localisation website to identify the exact location and country of where the debris where found. Find the corresponding flag using the 12 flags listed below and input the letter attached to each flag in the drop down list corresponding to each message.
Message #1 - W3W: // - Flag:
Message #2 - W3W: // - Flag:
Message #3 - W3W: // - Flag:
Message #4 - W3W: // - Flag:
Message #5 - W3W: // - Flag:
Message #6 - W3W: // - Flag:
Message #7 - W3W: // - Flag:
Message #8 - W3W: // - Flag:
Message #9 - W3W: // - Flag:
Message #10 - W3W: // - Flag:
Message #11 - W3W: // - Flag:
Message #12 - W3W: // - Flag:
Valid Code! Mission 1 Complete! Please proceed to mission 2.
Invalid Code! Try again...
Mission 2: ICSA Secure File System
All ICSA files are encrypted using a mono-alphabetic substitution cipher. A mono-alphabetic cipher (aka simple substitution cipher) is a substitution cipher where each letter of the plain text is replaced with another letter of the alphabet. It uses a fixed key which consist of the 26 letters of a “shuffled alphabet”. You will need to use a frequency analysis to decrypt these files.
BNXC HNJT HQPR
BNXC QC TSR HUVXTS LPNZRT HXUB TSR CVZ NZK TSR CRJUZK-CBNPPRCT LPNZRT QZ TSR CUPNX CMCTRB NHTRX BRXJVXM. QZ RZDPQCS, BNXC JNXXQRC N ZNBR UH TSR XUBNZ DUK UH FNX NZK QC UHTRZ XRHRXXRK TU NC TSR 'XRK LPNZRT'. TSR PNTTRX XRHRXC TU TSR RHHRJT UH TSR QXUZ UOQKR LXRGNPRZT UZ BNXC' CVXHNJR, FSQJS DQGRC QT N XRKKQCS NLLRNXNZJR KQCTQZJTQGR NBUZD TSR NCTXUZUBQJNP AUKQRC GQCQAPR TU TSR ZNYRK RMR.
BNXC QC N TRXXRCTXQNP LPNZRT FQTS N TSQZ NTBUCLSRXR, SNGQZD CVXHNJR HRNTVXRC XRBQZQCJRZT AUTS UH TSR QBLNJT JXNTRXC UH TSR BUUZ NZK TSR GNPPRMC, KRCRXTC, NZK LUPNX QJR JNLC UH RNXTS.
TSR KNMC NZK CRNCUZC NXR PQYRFQCR JUBLNXNAPR TU TSUCR UH RNXTS, ARJNVCR TSR XUTNTQUZNP LRXQUK NC FRPP NC TSR TQPT UH TSR XUTNTQUZNP NOQC XRPNTQGR TU TSR RJPQLTQJ LPNZR NXR GRXM CQBQPNX.
BNXC QC TSR CQTR UH UPMBLVC BUZC, TSR PNXDRCT GUPJNZU NZK SQDSRCT YZUFZ BUVZTNQZ UZ NZM LPNZRT QZ TSR CUPNX CMCTRB, NZK UH GNPPRC BNXQZRXQC, UZR UH TSR PNXDRCT JNZMUZC QZ TSR CUPNX CMCTRB. TSR CBUUTS AUXRNPQC ANCQZ QZ TSR ZUXTSRXZ SRBQCLSRXR JUGRXC 40% UH TSR LPNZRT NZK BNM AR N DQNZT QBLNJT HRNTVXR. BNXC SNC TFU BUUZC, LSUAUC NZK KRQBUC, FSQJS NXR CBNPP NZK QXXRDVPNXPM CSNLRK.
Visual cryptography is a technique used to reveal a secret message when overlapping two semi-transparent pictures.
The following 2 pictures where retrieved from the probe's ROM and may contain the probe's unique identifier. Will you be able to reveal this unique ID: