An organizations have fired off messages deep into space that they hope will be received by aliens, inviting them to communicate.
A brand new project aimed at making contact with aliens and inviting them to communicate has just blasted out an invitation into outer space. The organization, Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI), sent out messages aimed at a star system about 12 light years from Earth that, if they manage to find an alien civilization, could get returned in 25 years.
Finding alien life would be the holy grail of science, but it’s certainly a daunting challenge. Space is absolutely massive, and even if intelligent life existed nearby, it would have to happen at the same point in our cosmic history as when we exist. Civilizations certainly could have sprung up millions of years ago and then gone extinct, or they may spring up at some point in the future, but hoping that some intelligent civilization just happened to exist just 12 light years from us at the same time as we do is certainly a long shot.
Nevertheless, a certain segment of scientists remains committed to looking. The message were sent to the red dwarf GJ273, and specifically to an ideal habitable exoplanet candidate in GJ273b, which orbits the star. Scientists hope to receive a response on June 21, 2043.
Of course, there’s always the concern about letting another intelligent civilization know we’re here if we do make contact, but METI thinks there’s nothing to worry about.
“When we’re not clear how risky an activity is, we rely on the most vivid images that come to mind to help us decide,” METI president Douglas Vakock said in an interview with Newsweek. “Cognitive psychologists call it the availability heuristic. We rely on the images that are most available to us—the vivid ones—and take that as the truth. What could be more vivid than the image of an alien invasion? But once we step back, take a breath, and analyze the situation, we realize there’s no added danger of an alien attack if we let them know we’re interested in having an interstellar conversation. When people learn more about the project, they’ll realize we have nothing to fear.”