35 years of shouting into the abyss
November 23, 2009 1:54 PM   Subscribe

It's been 35 years this month since the Arecibo message was sent from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, when the 1,679 digit message was sent once, towards Messier 13. More messages have been sent sky-wards since, in attempts for communication with extra terrestrial intelligence (CETI), with the (ill-fated) Team Encounter was instrumental in Cosmic Call 1999 and 2003 (more details: 58 page PDF). The more complex three-section Teen-Age Message was sent out in 2001, including a musical piece entitled 1st Theremin Concert for Aliens. In 2008 NASA sent the Beatles into space, transmitting "Across the Universe" for the 40th anniversary of the song's recording, the 45th anniversary of the Deep Space Network (DSN), and the 50th anniversary of NASA (prev). If you felt left out of the sending of signals, Talk To Aliens offered a "deep space e-mail service" and a certificate of interstellar broadcast (prev), but no more. Now Sent Forever offers a long-lasting alternative to traditional greeting cards, or simply the worst tie-in for Apollo 11.

Given that the travel time to M13 was some 25,000 years, the Arecibo message was more a show of terrestrial radio technology, rather than an actual attempt to communicate, according to Carl Sagan and others. Regardless, there was a reply in the fields near Chilbolton Observatory in England (prev). And then there was the mysterious transmissions of Transient Bursting Source GCRT J1745-3009 (prev).

Bonus material: Arecibo Message (the album, from Boxcutter)
posted by filthy light thief (14 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
They didn't reply to Karen Carpenter, I doubt they're interested in a bunch of nerd with pocket-protectors.
posted by GuyZero at 2:00 PM on November 23, 2009

They're just not that into us.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:01 PM on November 23, 2009

For all we know, the cosmos responded with "WAT" and it's been hushed up ever since.
posted by jquinby at 2:03 PM on November 23, 2009

For all we know, the cosmos responded with "WAT" and it's been hushed up ever since.

More likely, it was "STFU noob!"
posted by never used baby shoes at 2:21 PM on November 23, 2009

XCKD nails it as usual
posted by lalochezia at 2:26 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 3:55 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]

Get it? Get it?
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 3:56 PM on November 23, 2009

Aliens: "This is a decent song, but the stereo mix sucks."
posted by Wolfdog at 4:38 PM on November 23, 2009


Ohio State?
posted by neuron at 6:37 PM on November 23, 2009

"The aliens will contact us when they can make money by doing so." -- David Byrne
posted by neuron at 6:38 PM on November 23, 2009

We're made out of meat
posted by lysdexic at 5:17 AM on November 24, 2009

I guess it's that time of the day to feel sad because Carl Sagan's dead. Came early today.

The Arecibo message is so badass, but it always reminds me of that weird X-Files episode where Mulder goes to Puerto Rico because some congressman played him the Brandenburg Concerto twice and then some Puerto Rican man dies and nothing's explained satisfactorily because that's how Chris Carter rolls
posted by oinopaponton at 7:12 AM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

Does no one see any problem with this? If there is no intelligent life out there, then it is a waste of time and energy. If there is intelligent life, well,

it would be kind of like the Native Americans, in 1400, sending a message to Europe saying, "Hey guys, there's a whole world over here. Come check it out!"

The only possible good end I can imagine is if we are simply too far away for them to come 'visit'. In which case we are just setting up our great-great-grandchildren for some unwelcome company.
posted by eye of newt at 11:05 PM on November 24, 2009

I like to think that there might be someone/thing out there that isn't simply interested in expanding its dominance and resources, because they're content with what they have, and want to see more simply because they haven't seen it already. Something of an intrigued scientist/ explorer/ tourist, if you will.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:45 PM on November 26, 2009

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