Science & Technology

‘Sónar Calling’ campaign broadcasts music and messages to an alien super-Earth

Scientists and artists have banded collectively to beam coded radio transmissions towards a star that has a doubtlessly liveable planet, simply 12.4 light-years from Earth.

“Sónar Calling GJ273b” is the newest effort to talk with aliens, 43 years for the reason that first try was made utilizing the 1,000-foot Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico.

The “Sónar Calling” messages had been despatched on three successive days, Oct. 16-18, from the 32-meter EISCAT radio antenna in Tromsø, Norway, simply contained in the Arctic Circle. Every transmission was directed at peak energy of two megawatts towards a purple dwarf star generally known as GJ273, or Luyten’s Star, within the constellation Canis Main.

Astronomers say Luyten’s Star harbors a planet that’s more than twice as massive as Earth, in an orbit the place water may conceivably exist in liquid type. “Sónar Calling” goals to talk with any radio-savvy life types on that planet, known as GJ273 b.

The trouble is being undertaken by the organizers of Spain’s Sónar music pageant in Barcelona, the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia, and METI International, a San Francisco-based analysis group that focuses on the difficulty of messaging extraterrestrial intelligence.

The message incorporates a tutorial for its recipients, mentioned Douglas Vakoch, METI Worldwide’s president.

“METI’s mathematical and scientific tutorial for ‘Sónar Calling GJ273b’ contains modern options like a ‘cosmic clock’ that lets extraterrestrials verify that their understanding of time from our scientific message maps onto the passage of time they will observe all through the transmission itself,” Vakoch advised GeekWire in an e mail.

The tutorial tries to clarify the notion of radio frequency by sending indicators as binary code at two frequencies, 929.0 MHz and 930.2 MHz. The code describes these frequencies in mathematical phrases.

EISCAT’s antenna broadcast the binary code 3 times on every of the three days at a price of 125 bits per second, including up to a complete transmission time of 33 minutes, Vakoch mentioned. Every time, the cosmic-clock setting was modified to replicate the time of transmission.

The message additionally included 33 musical items, every lasting 10 seconds, which had been commissioned for the challenge as a tribute to the Sónar pageant. The contributors embody sound artist Holly Herndon, French composer Jean-Michel Jarre and the experimental electronic-music duo Matmos.

Sónar’s organizers are opening the challenge for public participation as we speak.

Vakoch mentioned an expanded tutorial will probably be transmitted to GJ273b subsequent April.

“We’ll flip the EISCAT transmitter right into a musical instrument, sending fundamental melodies by transmitting pulses at a sequence of various radio frequencies that preserve the identical kind of intervals between each other that we see within the intervals between musical notes,” he mentioned.

It’d sound unusual to strive sending messages to the aliens within the type of music, however there are precedents for that.

For instance, the “Golden Record” that was positioned on NASA’s Voyager probes within the Nineteen Seventies for the advantage of extraterrestrial passers-by included 27 musical choices from world wide. And in 2008, NASA beamed a Beatles song titled “Across the Universe” towards Polaris to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the recording.

Are such transmissions detectable? And in that case, is it smart to ship them? That’s been a topic of debate amongst researchers specializing in the seek for extraterrestrial intelligence, or SETI, for a few years.

Dan Wertheimer, chief scientist for the SETI program on the College of California at Berkeley, doesn’t suppose sending messages to E.T. is a good suggestion.

“I feel the dangers outweigh the advantages,” he mentioned final month at Berkeley throughout a panel organized by the World Conference of Science Journalists. “You’re placing 7 billion folks in danger. We don’t know what’s on the market. … I feel it’s a small likelihood that E.T. goes to be violent, that they’re going to come grind up our planet for rubidium or one thing. However nonetheless, you’re placing 7 billion folks in danger.”

Seth Shostak, senior astronomer for the SETI Institute, mentioned that if the aliens are listening, they’ve in all probability already picked up the puny transmissions from us people.

“In case you actually suppose there’s a possible of killing 7 billion folks as a result of the aliens get ticked off by listening to ‘I Love Lucy’ and ship their interstellar battlewagons right here to wipe us out, simply in a match of pique. … In case you actually suppose that, you then higher flip off all radars — not for the weekend, not for this 12 months, you higher flip them off perpetually,” Shostak mentioned. “And to me, that doesn’t sound like a good suggestion.”

Assuming there’s somebody on the market listening to the sounds of “Sónar Calling GJ273b,” we’ll have 25 years to discover out in the event that they reply through radio. But when there are battlewagons, that’d virtually actually take longer.

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please stop the adblocker for your browser to view this page.