On Thursday 1 June at 19:30 GMT:
With at least 100 billion galaxies in our observable universe, astronomers have long scoured the skies for signs of life beyond Earth.
But if an alien civilization actually sent us a message, what would happen? Would humans have the right technology or knowledge to even decipher it? These are some of the questions asked in a simulation organized by the research group SETI, or Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.
The project, known as “A sign in space”, is a practice competition for humanity’s first contact with extraterrestrial intelligence. It was initiated last week when a planned interplanetary signal was beamed to Earth-based radio telescopes from a European Space Agency spacecraft orbiting Mars. Now it’s up to humans to crack the code and translate it to the world. SETI has invited the public to join the problem-solving event through its Discord page.
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What would it mean for humanity if scientists found a real signal from an advanced alien civilization? And who decides whether we should respond back?
Once considered a fringe area of scientific research, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence has gained prominence in recent years thanks to powerful new scientific tools, the growth of exoplanet discoveriesand new radio telescope observatories that scan the skies for anomalous signals.
In this episode of The Stream, we speak to those involved in the ongoing search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
In this episode of The Stream we speak with:
Daniela de Paulis, @daniladepaulis
Project founder, “A Sign in Space”
Chenoa Tremblay, @Chenoachem
Researcher, SETI Institute
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Frank Marchis, @AllPlanets
Senior Planetary Astronomer, SETI Institute