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If the “truth is out there,” scientists are determined to find it – so much so that they’ve spent a message into space trying to contact aliens.
But a response could take 25 years – if it comes at all.
Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) International sent an encoded message into space using radio waves known as “Sonar Calling GJ273b,” which the organization’s president and founder Doug Vakoch, believes could be received by intelligent life. “[The message is] distinctive because it’s designed with extraterrestrial SETI scientists in mind. We sent the sort of signal we’d want to receive here on Earth,” he said in an interview with CNET.
METI’s purpose, along with the well-known Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), has a number of missions, including understanding and communicating “the societal implications and relevance of searching for life beyond Earth, even before detection of extraterrestrial life.” It also conducts programs to “foster increased awareness of the challenges facing our civilization’s longevity” among other directives.
The San Francisco-based METI sent its message toward the red dwarf star GJ 273 (also known as Luyten’s Star), 12 light-years away from Earth. The message was sent in October from the Eiscat transmitter in Tromsø, Norway and included details such as basic math and science, as well as information on mankind’s understanding of time.
In a statement obtained by CNET, METI said it wanted to know if intelligent life understood the message and then go from there. “In a reply message, I would first want to know that the extraterrestrials understood what we said in our first message,” METI said in the statement. “The easiest way to do this is to repeat our message, but in expanded form. We tell them that ‘1 + 1 = 2.’ They could let us know that they understand that ’10 + 10 = 20.'”