Should details about humanity be sent to hypothetical extraterrestrial civilizations? Researchers shared

A NASA project aims to transfer data about our planet to intelligent life forms that may be living in the galaxy. A bad idea for some scientists.

A “lighthouse in the galaxy”. This is how the name of NASA’s project to send a message across the galaxy in hopes of establishing contact with extraterrestrial potentials could be translated. The “Beacon in the Galaxy” project plans to transmit information about life on Earth, such as our DNA or the location of our planet.

The idea of ​​coming into contact with hypothetical extraterrestrial civilizations is not new. In 1974, a first message, the Arecibo message, was sent to the Hercules cluster, 22,000 light-years from Earth, selected because of its wealth of stars, which increased the chances of reaching a potentially inhabited planet.

Since then, a host of messages have been teleported into space, including an advertisement for the Doritos brand or an invitation written in Klingon (the fictional language of the Star Trek fictional universe) to a Klingon opera in La Haye, as it is remembered. The Guardian.

Information about the Earth and about humanity

As these calls remained unanswered, researchers want to try their luck again. The message from the “Beacon in the Galaxy” project could thus be sent to a dense ring of stars near the heart of the Milky Way, the region considered to be the most promising for the appearance of life.

This message is made with simple communication principles that are composed thanks to the binary system. It includes basic concepts in mathematics and physics, the constituents of our DNA and the biochemical composition of living organisms on Earth or even a drawing of human appearance.

“Humanity has, we believe, a compelling story to share and a desire to know others – and now has the means to do so,” the NASA team wrote.

The message also contains the solar system’s time – stamped position in the Milky Way and even the Earth, added information about our planet with, for example, images of nature such as mountains and lakes. Finally, it also has an invitation to respond, intended for foreigners.

As “Christopher Columbus Lands in America”

It is this precise information that nonetheless worries some scientists. First, according to them, the chances of an intelligent extraterrestrial civilization intercepting the message are extremely low. In addition, in the event that a contact is established, it will be difficult to establish a conversation, as an answer can take several years. Moreover, these life forms may for the most part not understand the signal.

“The chances of the message reaching extraterrestrial life are small, but no matter what, it would have such an effect that it should be taken quite seriously,” warns Professor Anders Sandberg, a researcher at the Institute for the Future of Humanity (NIPH) at the University. of Oxford, in comments reported by The independent.

For years, the idea of ​​sending a message into the cosmos has been divisive, especially when it involves information about the Earth and humanity.

“If aliens visit us, the result will be pretty much the same as when Christopher Columbus landed in America, which did not turn out well for Indians,” Stephen Hawking said in 2010.

Disadvantages outweigh the advantages?

Professor Toby Ord, also a researcher at the University of Oxford, believes that the main problem concerns the proportion of peaceful civilizations compared to those who would be hostile to us.

“We have very little evidence to determine whether this ratio is high or low and there is no scientific consensus. Given that the harms can outweigh the benefits, it does not seem to me to be a good situation to take active steps towards a contact, ”he explains.

In response, the NASA team, led by Professor Jonathan Jiang, proposes to overcome our fears in the name of science. According to these scientists, an alien species capable of communicating across the cosmos may well have learned the value of peace. “We believe that the scientific advances that can be made to advance this task if communication were to be established would far outweigh the concerns,” they conclude.

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