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I recently bought Planet of Judgment, a book in the Star Trek - The Original Series universe. It begins with Captain Kirk and the others (Bones, Spock, ...) getting stranded on a rogue planet and not being able to communicate with the Enterprise. However, they find a way by making some symbols which can be seen through a kind of telescope from the Enterprise. These are the symbols and their meaning:

Image of the book

Have these symbols ever occurred (or re-occurred) in a Star Trek series (I only saw TOS and TAS) or are they just the imagination of the writer?

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I bought that when it first came out (yes, I'm that old) and wondered about that. Of course, we didn't have the internet back then so I just took it on faith.

As it happens, they are real.

I don't recall them ever coming up again but they do seem to conform to actual symbols adopted by the Civil Aeronautics Administration in the mid-20th Century.

Google Books copy of Popular Science April 1948

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..and here's another from what is, apparently, a PSK 2 USN issue medical/ emergency kit probably from the early 1960s

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As it happens the author, Joe Haldeman (that Joe Haldeman) served as a combat engineer in Vietnam so there's a good chance he would have had personal knowledge of these.

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    That looks very promising! The first one is an exact copy, the second one is almost the same (and I presume the S is just a way to make clear that the shuttles are damaged) and the third one is almost an exact copy but I presume that the tilde works as a negative symbol. – Noosrep Aug 26 '16 at 8:55
  • Any idea what the thinking was behind the "+" sign? It makes sense that the real-world references don't use it, since it would look the same as an "X" from the air. It seems odd that the author would choose it. – John Walthour Aug 26 '16 at 12:35
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    @JohnWalthour Give the deciphered meaning, I would interpret it as a cross, not as a plus sign. – Angew Aug 26 '16 at 12:39
  • Ahhh that'd do it – John Walthour Aug 26 '16 at 13:39

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