What radio messages have we sent to aliens ?
By T.K. Randall
March 21, 2021 · 9 comments
Is there anyone out there ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Hajor
Scientists have made several attempts to communicate with intelligent extraterrestrials over the decades.
On the face of it, sending a radio message into space in the hope of establishing contact with an advanced extraterrestrial civilization would seem to be a literal shot in the dark.
Given the distances involved, a message sent to a distant star system could take thousands of years (or more) to get there and there is no guarantee that intelligent aliens would even be listening out for conventional radio signals which are obviously way too slow for interstellar communication.
This hasn't stopped humanity from attempting to make contact all the same, however.
One of the, if not the earliest attempts to communicate with aliens happened in 1962 when Soviet scientists beamed a basic greeting ("Mir, Lenin, SSR") towards the planet Venus.
It wasn't until 1974 however that the first proper message was sent towards the stars.
Frank Drake, Carl Sagan and a group of other scientists and astronomers used the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico to send a message towards a star cluster 25,000 light years away.
The message itself contained an image - sent in binary - of a human figure, a DNA double helix, a model of a carbon atom and a depiction of a telescope.
The chances of anyone ever picking up the message are remote to say the least - especially given that it will take 25,000 years to reach its target which, by that time, will have moved.
"The Arecibo message tried to give a snapshot of who we are as human beings in the language of math and science," said psychologist Douglas Vakoch.
Since then there have been numerous attempts to send message into space, however to date we have yet to receive a response (or at least one that we've been able to detect and decipher.)
All things considered, radio messages - given that they are limited to the speed of light - are probably not going to be the answer to communicating with other beings across the stars.
Source: Live Science
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