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New project aims to message nearby worlds

February 9, 2015 | Comment icon 65 comments

Is sending messages out in to space a good idea ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Hajor
Astronomers are planning to send radio messages to Earth-like worlds within a range of 20 light years.
For decades the SETI Institute has been listening out for signs of extraterrestrial radio communications in an attempt to discover whether or not intelligent life might exist elsewhere in the universe.

Now in an effort to step up their efforts scientists are planning to start broadcasting radio messages of their own in to the depths of space in an attempt to attract the attention of any curious extraterrestrials who might be listening out in our direction.

To maximize the chances of being picked up the messages would be directed towards stars around which potentially habitable planets have already been discovered by astronomers.
"There could be many civilizations out there but if they are all listening and no one is broadcasting then nothing will happen," said SETI's chief executive David Black.

"One question is...if we go ahead, what message should we send? Should it be the work of a few scientists or should we involve the whole world, perhaps through the Internet?"

While many scientists have approved of the project, some, such as Professor Stephen Hawking, have criticized the endeavor as dangerous on the basis that broadcasting our existence could have dire consequences if the message were to be picked up by a hostile extraterrestrial race.

"If aliens do visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didnít turn out well for the Native Americans," he said.

Source: Reuters | Comments (65)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #56 Posted by DONTEATUS 7 years ago
Or ? "IS it SAFE?" IS it ?
Comment icon #57 Posted by Father Merrin 7 years ago
Hunger? Deadly animals? Illness? Is that fact or personal opinion?
Comment icon #58 Posted by Myles 7 years ago
Is that fact or personal opinion? You think it is opinion that 5000 years ago humans faced hunger, deadly animal attacks and illness?
Comment icon #59 Posted by toast 7 years ago
Is that fact or personal opinion? ...
Comment icon #60 Posted by maximusnow 7 years ago
Just like the movies Oblivion, Independence Day, etc, etc. This is dangerous. And, of course, never forget the classic: How to Serve Man (Twilight Zone) There just movies, reality is much more terrifying! Hey , I might just try to eat one of them.......Hmmmmmmm
Comment icon #61 Posted by Occams Razor 7 years ago
I can't really see what the Earth would provide ,that can't be obtained without force, by an advanced civilisation ? The Earth itself... a nice cosy planet to move in to.
Comment icon #62 Posted by Occams Razor 7 years ago
why? honestly, i don't understand this. if we can imagine aliens intelligent enough to receive and decipher a message, why can't we imagine that they might also be capable of empathy? why do we always assume that they'll want to destroy us? it's never made sense to me. Well... the old saying is 'hope for the best, but prepare for the worst'.
Comment icon #63 Posted by bison 7 years ago
In order to be a threat to us, a supposed hostile extraterrestrial species would need to have the ability to travel interstellar distances. Such a level of technical development would also presumably allow them to receive our routine radio, radar, and television transmissions, which is a less demanding technical feat. We already know that it is possible to use the gravitational focusing effect of the local star to receive such transmissions from across the galaxy. The fact that we have not been conquered or destroyed by hostile ETs, some of which presumably have a million or billion year head ... [More]
Comment icon #64 Posted by theotherguy 7 years ago
If the potential aliens are at the same technology level as us, they won't be able to send their big kaboomies over anyway. This could turn into a phone conversation with forty years of silence between messages. "If you're there, pick up."--twenty years of transmission--"You have reached the Gorb%plx)22; planet. Please leave a message after the tone."--twenty years of transmission, unknown number of years of translation--"Hi, this is SETI on Earth. Anytime you want to get together for an drink, get to know each other, give us a call."
Comment icon #65 Posted by thebigbang 7 years ago
If we do get a answer,we mite have thousands of illegal aliens coming here for welfare and our jobs.

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