Scientists made an extremely long-distance call to try to find alien life, but it could be 25 years before they find out whether anyone’s on the other end of the line. And even if aliens do receive the message, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will realize that intelligent life from another planet is trying to reach out and touch someone in a friendly manner.
Will they find alien life?
In their quest to find alien life, scientists with METI, or Messaging Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence International, have sent an encoded message via radio waves to a planet that’s 12 light-years away from us. METI Founder and President Doug Vakoch told CNET that their message is scientific, mathematical and musical and that it’s “the sort of signal we’d want to receive here on Earth.” If the message does reach intelligent lifeforms and they respond, then SETI might not hear back until 2042.
The goal of METI is to find alien life and figure out how to communicate with extraterrestrials. The Sonar Festival in Barcelona approached the group for assistance in creating a message that could be beamed across outer space in honor of the festival’s 25th year.
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ISO (in search of) long-distance friendship
The message developed by METI is called Sonar Calling GJ23b, and it includes music from 33 artists in what the group describes on its website as “an artistic-scientific experiment.” Sonar’s directors feel that humanity has had a “largely negative impact” on Planet Earth, which is why they hope that if they do find alien life, it will be “superior” so that they can ask for help and “advice” on fixing the planet. In a statement, Sonar directors Enric Palau, Sergio Caballero and Richard Robles describe the message as “an attempt to rekindle a sense of global consciousness.”
The message that attempts to find alien life is being shot toward Luyten’s Star, an exoplanet also called GJ 273, because scientists believe it might be capable of supporting intelligent life. The planet is a little more than 12 light-years away, and METI beamed its sonar message three consecutive days last month via the Eiscat transmitter located in Tromso, Norway.
A basic math and science tutorial was included with the artists’ music. METI also included lessons on things such as radio frequencies, time and physics. The scientists who developed the message hope that it will teach the aliens a bit about human life, communication and a timeframe of when they will be listening to see whether a response is ever sent. They also hope the aliens would respond back with evidence showing that they understand science and math—and that their message is the key to first contact with extraterrestrials.