ET phone earth?
September 2, 2004 7:58 AM   Subscribe

Between Pisces and Aries, a strange signal from space. Communication from an extraterrestrial civilization? Probably not, and an article in Nature suggests it would make more sense to use FedEx.
posted by tranquileye (11 comments total)
The second story seems a little odd if what they say in the first story is true. Sounds like he's downplaying it but that there is indeed something there (I don't think it's aliens)
posted by zeoslap at 8:39 AM on September 2, 2004

The FedEx method travels slower and covers a smaller region of space, and is more vulnerable to pulverization.
posted by weston at 8:54 AM on September 2, 2004

Until they confirm this with another telescope, my hunch would be that it's instrument noise generated when the Arecibo telescope is pointed in that specific direction.
Is there another radio telescope sensitive enough to pick up this signal that has the time to go look?
posted by cardboard at 9:11 AM on September 2, 2004

posted by mr.marx at 9:44 AM on September 2, 2004

Ladies and gentlemen, er, we've just lost the picture, but, uh, what we've seen speaks for itself. The Corvair spacecraft has been taken over -- "conquered", if you will -- by a master race of giant space ants. It's difficult to tell from this vantage point whether they will consume the captive earth men or merely enslave them. One thing is for certain, there is no stopping them; the ants will soon be here. And I, for one, welcome our------

posted by keswick at 9:52 AM on September 2, 2004

And with modern nanotechnology, the authors point out, that letter can contain quite a lot. Some 1022 bits of information - much more than the sum of all the written and electronic information on Earth - can be encoded into a cube weighing about 2.2 pounds, Dr. Rose and Dr. Wright say.

Modern nanotech, but super-advanced futuristic data compression algorithms.
posted by straight at 10:11 AM on September 2, 2004

Can someone with more knowledge than me tell me if the fact that 1420 MHz is the molecular hydrogen line frequency makes this more or less likely to be a foreign data transmission (natural or no) as opposed to a local one?
posted by twine42 at 11:07 AM on September 2, 2004

We are not alone.
posted by grateful at 12:38 PM on September 2, 2004

The fact that its at or near the 1420 MHz line makes this really intriguing. ET can broadcast at any frequency but its always been thought that the Hydrogen line is a good, "special" frequency both because its an otherwise quiet part of the spectrum except for this major narrow-band spike at Hydrogen which is the most common thing in our universe. Its a Hydrogen gas universe. So, its one of the few frequencies that just makes sense.

There are no earth-bound sources of this, our atmosphere is transparent to this frequency and this frequency is also reserved for astronomers (i.e. no man-made emissions are allowed around there)

I too would like to see confirmation from another telescope. There are plenty of telescoped out there that can see fine in 21-cms but the challenge is usually getting time on them.
posted by zia at 10:02 PM on September 2, 2004

oh, oops! I was on zia's computer. That was me posting the above, though.
posted by vacapinta at 10:04 PM on September 2, 2004

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