The new attempt to communicate with extraterrestrials is called lighthouse in the galaxy (BITG) and was developed by a team of NASA scientists. “The message includes basic mathematical and physical concepts to establish a universal means of communication, followed by information about the biochemical makeup of life on Earth,” said lead author Jonathan Jiang. The objective is According to him “to deliver the maximum of information on our society and the human species in a minimum of messages”.
The message also provides the location of the solar system in the galaxy relative to other celestial bodies, as well as digitized images of the solar system and the Earth’s surface. The message ends with scanned images of a man and a woman, along with an invitation for all recipients to respond.
Binary code as “universal language”
Scientists eventually settled on binary code in hopes that intelligent aliens would understand. “It’s probably universal for all forms of intelligence,” says Jiang. “It is the simplest form of mathematics because there are only two opposite states: zero or one.” Other messages sent into space over the years also used binary code.
The message is to be sent through the Five Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) in China, the largest radio telescope in the world, and through the Allen Telescope Network of the Search for Extraterrestrial Life Intelligence Institute (SETI). It would be sent to an area of the Milky Way that scientists suspect is alive.
The dark forest
Not everyone is happy with the new attempt. Some experts warn that the broadcast of Earth’s position could be an invitation to a potentially hostile species. This recalls the theory ofblack Forest‘, which was popularized by science fiction writer Liu Cixin.
The “black forest” is based on a few simple propositions. First, everything that lives wants to stay alive. Second, there is no way of knowing whether extraterrestrial life forms are benign or not. The third statement is that, if you want to be sure of surviving, the safest option is to destroy other lifeforms before they can do this to you. The theory immediately explains why we have not yet been able to observe extraterrestrial life in a universe that contains billions of stars. Any life form that reveals its location would be destroyed, the theory goes.
While Jiang admits this fear, he is convinced that intelligent aliens are probably benign. “Logic suggests that a species that has reached sufficient complexity to enable communication across the cosmos is very likely to have also reached a high level of mutual cooperation and will therefore experience the importance of peace and cooperation. “
Predecessors also in binary code
BITG is strongly reminiscent of the so-called Message from Arecibo† This was a binary message sent into space in 1974 by the Arecibo Radio Telescope, one of the largest telescope installations ever built. Consisting of only 1,679 bits, the message showed a rudimentary version of our solar system, DNA, a stick figure representing a human being and some biochemical elements.
Physical messages have already been sent into space. For example, Pioneer 10 and 11, two unmanned reconnaissance flights now heading away from the solar system, contain a sign with some simple information. Successors Voyager 1 and 2 contain more detailed information in a gramophone record† It contains all kinds of photos, music and greetings from Earth to potential aliens.
Voyagers eventually became the first man-made objects to leave the solar system. According to However, this will take NASA about 30,000 years. Both spacecraft should be able to send simple signals to Earth until 2036, after which they will not have enough power to do so.
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