Our civilization has installed several radio telescopes at different locations on Earth waiting patiently to detect an alien transmission from Space. Despite several years of waiting, we are yet to spot a signal from another civilization. But while we wait to make contact with aliens, a new initiative named “A Sign in Space,” is cooperating with SETI to study how humanity would do when we actually receive an alien transmission from another civilization.
The project involves a combination of an interdisciplinary group of professionals such as scientists, artists, and others. This team of experts will figure out how to interpret and decode any strange signal we receive from space.
How the group plans to transmit simulated Alien Transmission to Earth
Since we are yet to make contact with another civilization, the group is relying on the European Space Agency’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) in sending the encoded message to Earth on May 24. This orbiter which orbits around Mars will transmit the simulated alien signal to teach scientists what an actual alien transmission will look like.
The transmission will enable our scientists to prepare to receive an actual signal from extraterrestrial intelligence. Once the encoded message arrives on Earth, three radio astronomy observatories have been stationed to receive the signal. These radio telescopes that will receive the message include the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) at the SETI Institute, the Medicina Radio Astronomical Station overseen by the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF), and the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) at the Green Bank Observatory (GBO).
Scientists participating in the project have not revealed the details of this encoded message. However, once it is received, it will be interpreted by the general public.
“Throughout history, humanity has searched for meaning in powerful and transformative phenomena,” said Daniela dePaulis, the visionary artist behind the A Sign in Space project.“Receiving a message from an extraterrestrial civilization would be a profoundly transformational experience for all humankind. A Sign in Space offers the unprecedented opportunity to tangibly rehearse and prepare for this scenario through global collaboration, fostering an open-ended search for meaning across all cultures and disciplines,” she added.
How You can watch the encoded message transmitted from ESA ExoMars Orbiter
The team revealed that the encoded message will arrive on Earth from the ESA ExoMars Orbiter at 19:00 UTC / 12:00 pm PDT. Once it leaves Mars Orbit, the radio astronomy observatories on Earth will receive the signal 16 minutes later. SETI Institute is planning a live stream event on social media to interview scientists, artists, and engineers about the encoded message.
Team members of the projects from the control rooms of the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) at the SETI Institute, the Medicina Radio Astronomical Station overseen by the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF), and the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) at the Green Bank Observatory (GBO) will be joining the live stream as well. Dr. Franck Marchis will be hosting the live stream from SETI Institute and also Victoria Catlett from GBO. The live stream will commence at 11:15 am PDT and you can watch it from here.
“This experiment is an opportunity for the world to learn how the SETI community, in all its diversity, will work together to receive, process, analyze, and understand the meaning of a potential extraterrestrial signal,” said Project Scientist Dr. Wael Farah. “More than astronomy, communicating with ET will require a breadth of knowledge. With ‘A Sign in Space,’ we hope to make the initial steps towards bringing a community together to meet this challenge,” they added.
The team is encouraging participants who decode and interprets the message to share the process in the A Sign in Space Discord server. Hence, scientists and artists can submit their findings, and other scientific discoveries relating to this project to a submission form on the project’s website.
As we wait for the actual alien transmission, scientists have decided to receive a simulated alien signal from Mars’ orbit. What do you think about this fascinating project?