07 April 2006


Dr Yvan Dutil talks about sending messages to space aliens. He's neither crazy nor joking.
The only other serious attempt was the transmission from Arecibo in 1974. Many companies claim to send interstellar messages but essentially they are no better than using cell phones or CB for this job. Even the 2000 edition of the Cosmic Call from Encounter 2001 using the Mir space station is worthless.

The main drawback of the Arecibo message is its lack of resistance to the noise. Even at the time of the transmission it was known for a long time since Carl Sagan as pointed this out in the sixties. Also, the message is much too short and do not contain any redundant information. Therefore, it is impossible for the reader to cross-check his deductions.

Finally, the target chosen was very bad. The globular cluster M13 is a very unlikely place to find planets and life.

Dr Dutil has produced some very cool-looking message images. Check 'em out.

(Oh, and I cannot resist pointing out that Googling on the subject reveals that some folks would argue that the Arecibo message worked just fine, since grey aliens wrote back—in wheat!)

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