Scientists to Send Radio Signals to Closest Exoplanet to Contact Aliens

By Vishal Goel, | January 05, 2017

There have been plenty of other efforts in past to connect with aliens. (YouTube)

There have been plenty of other efforts in past to connect with aliens. (YouTube)

Scientists at Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) are planning to send radio signals to Proxima Centauri b, Earth's closest exoplanet, by 2018 with an aim at initiating communication with potential alien life. The scientists, who are planning to raise $1 million annually for running the transmitter, would be making the first effort this way to send intentional messages into space.

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The San Francisco-based organization further plans to send signals, after this project, to distant planets hundreds or thousands of light years away.

Douglas Vakoch, president of METI and former director of Interstellar Message Composition at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI) in Mountain View, California, said that with this effort to send powerful, repeated, and intentional messages into space targeting the same stars over months or years, the scientists are essentially learning to share information.

METI, which was founded last year, will host two workshops next year, one in Paris and the other in St. Louis. According to Phys, part of the mission will be to figure out how to craft the message saying "Hello."

The project has attracted controversy with science fiction writer David Brin and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking suggesting that humans should not draw attention to themselves. While physicists like Mark Buchanan say that there is an equal probability of aliens to be dangerous, other experts say it is worth waiting till humans become better conversationalists.

On the other hand, others like Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, and METI treasurer Dalia Rawson are in full support of the project saying that this way, humans will gain a renewed appreciation of what it means to be uniquely human.

There have been plenty of other efforts in past to connect with aliens. In the early 1970s, NASA's Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft carried a message in the form of a phonograph record. Also, SETI's Frank Drake sent a radio message that could be assembled into a pictogram of images. More recently, a lot of stuff including arithmetic, concerts of Vivaldi and Gershwin, and the Beatles song "Across the Universe" have been sent into the universe.

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