Astronomers Reveal New Message That Will Broadcast Earth's Location to Aliens

The journal Galaxies released a paper on the updated Arecibo message to Aliens, titled "A Beacon in the Galaxy: Updated Arecibo Message for Potential FAST and SETI Projects."

The new message is a follow-up to the legendary Arecibo Message, a METI (Messaging to Extraterrestrial Intelligence) signal sent on November 16, 1974. The Beacon in the Galaxy (BITG) message is a new signal developed by researchers that incorporates parts of the Arecibo Message and earlier METI experiments.

The BITG message is composed of thirteen components, totaling roughly 204,000 effective binary digits or 25,500 bytes. The study team picked a target to broadcast the signal to using the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) in China and the SETI Institute's Allen Telescope Array in northern California. The target is located 4 kiloparsecs (13,000 light-years) from the galactic center.

"We maximise the chances of the message being received by an ETI [Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence] and maximise the probability of receiving a response in the distant future," said Jonathan H. Jiang of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

"The main part of the Beacon in the Galaxy (BITG) Message contains a new combination of graphical information in the form of images and special "alphabets" to represent numbers, elements, DNA, land, ocean, human, etc., similar to the 1999/2003 Cosmic Call by Stephane Dumas and Yvan Dutil," said Jiang."

The BITG message also contains a Location Stamp and a Time Stamp. The Location Stamp describes the Solar System's position in the galaxy by using globular clusters as landmarks. The Time Stamp uses Hydrogen Spin-Flip to estimate the time we create/send the message in respect to the theoretical birth of the universe," said co-author Qitian Jin of the Hanze University of Applied Sciences.

The late physics professor Stephen Hawking expressed concern numerous times about humans trying to call out into the vastness of space and contact aliens.

Hawking made an appearance at an event in 2015 to announce the opening of the Breakthrough Listen project, which investigates radio waves in an attempt to determine if any of them are manmade.

Hawking expressed support for attempts to discover extraterrestrial life by listening but cautioned against actively contacting aliens, citing humanity's past actions as evidence that aliens would not always be nice.

Reference(s): MDPI(research paper)

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