Interstellar Messages: Is Anybody Out There

A Somewhat Scary Assumption

In the vast universe that is all around us, as an evolved race of an intelligent life form, humans are trying to communicate with Extra Terrestrial beings for more than 40 years now. Some of us are hoping that we will eventually succeed, and that the more advanced civilization from distant planets will offer answers to all of our questions about the Galaxy. Others dread these assumptions, and are advising that we stop sending invitations to technologically superior beings. There is also the third group that, however, claims that we can do whatever we want to, because there is no chance that we will ever communicate with any other life form other than ours.

The idea of this, third group, is a somewhat philosophical theory, but then again, no different than any other. It is connected to the Fermi Paradox, which we addressed a few weeks ago, and the proposal is: just because the complexity of our atoms, our circumstances and conditions, led to this structure of life that we are, doesn’t mean that there is a universal rule which will force occurrences on any other planet to arrange in a similar way. If that would be the case, and we are all similar at least, then it would be a proof of a higher being that is creating us in a certain image. Some could agree that we couldn’t imagine a more fearsome scenario than actually communicating with a life form that is exactly like ours, that would close a lot of doors of our perception of possibilities. As we know this far, the combinations under the conditions on other planets might be whatever they might be. We have absolutely no idea if they are even able to pronounce words, or have the same senses as we do for that matter.

Whatever the case is, here is a short list of communication attempts that we’ve sent this far. The ones we received are, of course, doubtfully true, but we will provide you with some research material and you can try to establish the facts on your own next week. So, let’s introduce our potentially dangerous friend, shouting messages into the sky called…

Messaging to Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence or M.E.T.I

The Arecibo Message

A signal that was the very first communication attempt broadcasted from our planet Earth, was a series of 1, 679 binary digits, transmitted on 16 November, 1974, from Puerto Rico. The Arecibo radio telescope sent a message to the very core of the M13 galaxy. Now we play the waiting game. It will only take 25, 000 years for this message to arrive to its destination, and if there is any intelligent life form there, it will only take us 25, 000 years to receive their answer.

If you are interested in what we sent to them, here is a decoded version of the Arecibo message, but basically it shows our location, our DNA formula, and a vivid presentation on what we look like. Some would say that we are opening ourselves for an attack, but if there is any superior life form that can actually understand this message, our little attempt to communicate with them would probably seem pointless. It’s like what our dogs barking seems to us when they are spending the night out, howling at the sky.

The Golden Records

Only three years later, the Voyager spacecrafts launched in the space, in no particular direction at all, had phonograph records aboard with sounds and images of Earth’s life forms. This is a physical message to extraterrestrials, but even if it reaches only us, somewhere in the future, it could prove as a useful reminder or even a ground breaking discovery for civilizations yet to come.

The world’s probably most expensive time capsule will hardly find any way to contact any life form other than ours, but if it ever does, the aliens will get to hear us saying hello in 55 different languages, the sounds of our eco system: winds, rains, volcanoes and such; and also a variety of sounds that our tools make, and of course, sounds of animals. So literally, they will hear a dog howling, isn’t that a neat coincidence. The best way to decode this message is to visit this site and see where these golden records are heading to, and what tracks will the aliens get to hear.

A Message from Earth to Gliese 581c

Some would say that this is the first attempt of an actual correspondence. Well, in a digital form. After the discovery of a potentially habitable planet called Gliese 581c, in the constellation Libra, which is only 20 light-years away from us, an astronomer called Ragvir Bhathal informed the public that he have already detected a suspicious signal from this direction, two years prior to the planets discovery. Of course, this was widely disputed, and a very few people actually believed this scientist from Sydney.

Those who did organized A Message from Earth, a public competition, which included celebrities and politicians, encouraging them to send their messages to this planet. This was the first public message to space, and in general it’s made of 501 photos, text messages and drawings from people all around the world, transmitted in a form of a binary code. The fact that this planet’s temperature varies from 0 to 40 degrees, actually means that there is water in its liquid state present, which is a fundamental condition for life as we know it. If there is any life form similar to ours there, it will only take them 15 more years to receive our message, and decipher our binary transmission, just to get a drawing of our somewhat talented kids and their interpretation of what an alien might look like. Hopefully, they won’t get offended.

Believe it or not, you can send a message to space yourself, through this website. Try to find something significant to say, something that we didn’t think of yet, or you can simply howl.

Join us next week when we will try to decipher the messages we received from outer space. Some of them are alarming and documented as a genuine broadcast, some of them are just assumptions and theories, but nevertheless we will find out everything that we can from our shy friends, through the words and articles of the organization called S.E.T.I.

Keep looking at the sky.

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George is an avid blogger, a fiction writer in his own spare time, a content marketer during the day and a manager of the FoH website. A book nut, a movie nut and everything space nut, who loves to talk about himself in third person. He's awesome.

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