Billionaire Offers 1 Million Reward For Best Message To Represent Humankind to Extraterrestrial In Case Of Contact
As reported earlier about new Breakthrough Initiatives
program, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner has declared a $1 million USD prize
for making the best message to symbolize humankind to possible extraterrestrial
contacts. The message, of which would be conveyed as part of the 'Breakthrough
Message' phase of the program, where this message would be send to stars that
would be expected to support civilizations. Astronomer Franklin Drake, one of
Breakthrough Initiatives' affiliates, and innovative member of previous
searches for extraterrestrial contact, says that they will automatically exclude
anything written in a human language.
Drake said "Some people have foolishly composed messages
in English. Big mistake," Drake, who was also the part of the team in
development of the messages included in on the Voyager and Pioneer space
probes, containing their information plaques, offers guidance on transmitting a
message to beings that are improbable to understand human language at all. Drake
said "There are many common reference points. Chemistry, for instance.
Through the spectral lines of elements, which are the characteristic
fingerprints they leave on the light spectrum, we can give scale - hydrogen's
spectral line could be a common unit of length. " The Breakthrough Initiatives program was declared last month
by theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking at the Royal Society in London last
week, with $100 million in backing from Russian Millionaire Yuri Milner.
Hawking has also previously cautioned that aliens might well be unfriendly.
It's probable that aliens--or somebody else--has already reacted to a human
message. Who knows?