Reaching out across the stars: should humanity try to communicate? (science video).

A Beacon in the Galaxy is a newly created binary-coded message for delivery to alien intelligences in the Milky Way galaxy. The communication finishes with digital photographs of the human form and an invitation to answer from any receiving alien intelligences.

For future transmission from both the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope in China and the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array in northern California to a selected region of the Milky Way that has been proposed as the most likely for life to have developed, calculation of the optimal timing to send this thing has now been specified.

But is anybody asking, should we send it?

Welcome to the exciting world of interstellar communication! Scientists at the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope in China and the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array in northern California have been working tirelessly to create a binary-coded message for delivery to alien intelligences in the Milky Way galaxy. Dubbed the “Beacon in the Galaxy,” this message will be transmitted from both telescopes to a selected region of the Milky Way that has been proposed as the most likely for life to have developed.

But before we hit the “send” button, let’s consider the implications of reaching out to extraterrestrial life. First, what do we even say to them? The message currently includes digital photographs of the human form and an invitation to answer, but what if they don’t have a concept of physical appearance or don’t understand the concept of “answering”?

Second, what if they respond? Will they be friendly or hostile? Will they want to come to Earth and steal our resources or enslave our populace? Will they introduce us to revolutionary new technologies that change our way of life? Or will they simply ignore us, like we’re that one friend who keeps sending them Snapchat messages at 3 am?

One thing is for sure, if aliens respond, we’re going to need a translator. We could also just be sending our message into the void, with no chance of it being received by anyone.

In the end, the team is looking forward to the message’s transmission, and we can only hope that our message isn’t misinterpreted as a dinner invitation, so that we avoid a “Galactic Diplomatic Incident” or us becoming interstellar fast food.

Also, let’s not forget the fact that this message will take over 25000 years to reach the destination. That’s a long time to wait for a response. But who knows, maybe by the time the aliens receive our message, we’ll have figured out how to travel faster than the speed of light and we’ll be well on our way to visit them in person!

The “Beacon in the Galaxy” transmission will be a historic moment for humanity, and we can only hope that it leads to positive results for both us and any alien civilizations that may receive it.

Reaching out across the stars: should humanity try to communicate? (science video).
Reaching out across the stars: should humanity try to communicate? (science video).

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