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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2011 > Dec > Dec 3

Let's Build A Beacon To Tell Aliens Who We Were

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
Date: Sat, 03 Dec 2011 11:56:01 -0500
Archived: Sat, 03 Dec 2011 11:56:01 -0500
Subject: Let's Build A Beacon To Tell Aliens Who We Were

Source: NewScientist.Com


02 December 2011

Let's Build A Beacon To Tell Aliens Who We Were
by Chris Wilson

Somewhere in the cosmos, 36 light years away from us in the
direction of the Hercules constellation, a series of
electromagnetic waves stretching across 30 million miles of
space carries a message from Earth. Each of the 1,679 signals it
contains falls in one of two frequencies - an FM signal that
translates to a bunch of ones and zeroes.

This message originated in 1974, when it was broadcast from the
Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico to commemorate the
facility's renovation. The authors of the message, Carl Sagan
and SETI founder Frank Drake, hoped that any aliens who happened
to receive it might notice that 1,679 is the product of two
prime numbers, 23 and 73, and if you arrange all the zeroes and
ones in a grid of 23 columns and 73 rows, you get a series of
simple, ASCII-like pictures, including a double helix and a
crude image of a person. Whether or not an alien civilization
could crack the code, they would at least notice something funny
about these FM signals. They're 10 million times stronger than
the background noise from our sun.

But no extraterrestrials will even get the chance. The Arecibo
transmission was aimed at a system 25,000 light years away that
will have long since orbited out of the signal's path by the
time it arrives in the vicinity. The odds of any two
civilizations ever overlapping in time are extremely small. Even
if we left the Arecibo telescope squealing out its signal until
its power ran out and its hardware rusted, there's virtually no
chance that the emanations would get anywhere in particular, and
hang around long enough to be seen or heard. The only way we'll
make contact is if we can make a beacon that keeps going for
millions or billions of years after we're gone.

[More at site... thanks to 'The Norm' for the lead]

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