Image Credit: CSIRO/Alex Cherney
A group of scientists are planning to send messages into space first targeting Proxima b – the closest Earth-like exoplanet to our Solar System. The group, Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) is starting a discussion about what the messages should say, with the intention to begin sending in 2018. Scientists say it’s time to try a basic rule of etiquette: Say “hello” first.
“If we want to start an exchange over the course of many generations, we want to learn and share information,” president of the San Francisco-based METI organisation, Douglas Vakoch, told The Mercury News.
In 1974, the Arecibo radio telescope sent a message to the globular star cluster M13. In 1977, the famous Golden Record was sent on the Voyager spacecraft for some aliens to find it. These were mainly symbolic gestures. The chance of aliens noticing a short and narrowly focused signal, or a tiny craft in the vastness of space was very low. Our unintentional signals are far more likely to give us away.
The non-profit organisation is planning a series of workshops and a crowdfunding drive to make the scheme a reality – and it’s estimated they’ll need to raise around $1 million a year to run, or build a transmitter.
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