NASA sends messages to aliens in hopes of making first contact


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  • A NASA-led team of researchers is trying to make first contact with intelligent extraterrestrial life.
  • Their plan is to broadcast messages using a high-tech telescope located in China or California.
  • Read more space news here.

In 1974, in what became known as the Arecibo message, scientists and researchers attempted to communicate with intelligent extraterrestrial life by transmitting a message using a radio telescope.

The telescope, located at the Arecibo Observatory near Arecibo, Puerto Rico, transmitted a 23 x 73 pixel bitmap image consisting of numbers, bar numbers and chemical formulas about 25,000 light-years away toward the globular cluster. Messier 13.

Now an international team of researchers, led by Jonathan Jiang of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is trying to do something similar by sending new messages to extraterrestrials.

In a published article arXiv.orgJiang and his fellow scientists explained…

An updated, binary-encoded message has been developed for transmission to extraterrestrial intelligences in the Milky Way galaxy.

The proposed message includes basic mathematical and physical concepts to establish a universal means of communication followed by information on the biochemical composition of life on Earth, the timestamped position of the solar system in the Milky Way relative to known globular clusters, as well as digitized representations of the solar system and the Earth’s surface.

The message ends with digitized images of the human form, along with an invitation for any receiving intelligence to respond.

The calculation of the optimum time in a given calendar year is specified for potential future transmission from both the Five Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope in China and the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array in Northern California to a selected region of the Milky Way that has been proposed as being most likely to be developed by life.

These powerful new beacons, the successors to the Arecibo radio telescope that transmitted the 1974 message on which this expanded communication is partly based, can carry on Arecibo’s legacy into the 21st century with this equally well-built communication of civilization. earth technology.

Do you have all that?

Scientists want to send messages to aliens in space, but is it a good idea?

As to why these researchers are doing this now, Jiang says, “The motivation for the design was to provide the maximum information about our society and the human species in the minimum message. With advances in digital technology, we can do much better than [Arecibo message] in 1974.”

Sounds cool, right?

Well… not everyone agrees with broadcasting messages to extraterrestrials.

Popular mechanics reports…

This all sounds pretty solid, pun intended. It’s cool to want to talk to other civilizations, and it’s cool that these scientists are basically reiterating and improving the messages sent decades ago to try to greet those civilizations. But there is a potential downside to being too transparent with our galactic neighbors. Some experts have speculated for decades that we might not want their attention at all, which they believe might explain why we’ve never heard of another civilization ourselves. They might all be silent on purpose.

If whoever’s out there is an enemy waiting, then what we’re doing is akin to, say, handing our exact locations and special vulnerabilities to the Nazis just before the Battle of the Bulge. Other civilizations may have picked up snippets of strange radio waves and other transmissions bouncing through space, but with specific points of reference for things like base 10 math and the building blocks of human life, you could say we’re doing intergalactic IMT without a guarantee that whoever’s listening is really a friend.

“The ultimate goal of this post is to start a dialogue… no matter how far that may go in the future,” the newspaper read. “Humanity has a fascinating story to share and a desire to learn about others – and now the means to do so.”

As many people often say, however, just because you can doing something does not necessarily mean that you should.


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