Astronomers send message to two potentially habitable planets

Publish on: 2017-11-17 11:51:12 AM
Mukul |

Risingbd Desk: In the hope of making contact with aliens, scientists have beamed a message towards two planets that may be capable of supporting life.

The message was directed towards GJ 273 – a red dwarf star, also known as Luyten's star, that lies 12.36 light years away from Earth, although it is expected to take up to 12 years to reach it.

If a reply is sent back by any aliens, it is expected to be heard during the northern hemisphere's summer solstice in 2042.

But not everyone is convinced by the plan, with experts including Professor Stephen Hawking, warning that if aliens discovered us, it could 'end life on Earth'.

Scientists from Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) International beamed the message to Luyten's Star last month.

Speaking to, Mr Douglas Vakoch, president of METI, explained: 'It is a prototype for what I think we would most likely need to do 100 times, or 1,000 times, or 1 million times.

'To me, the big success of the project will come if, 25 years from now, there's someone who remembers to look [for a response].

'If we could accomplish that, that would be a radical shift of perspective.'

The message itself included a scientific and mathematical 'tutorial' as well as 33 short musical excerpts created by artists from Sonar music festival.

It was beamed out in binary code at two different radio frequencies on October 16, 17 and 18, using the European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association radio antenna in Tromsø, Norway.

If any reply is sent back from aliens, it is expected to be heard during the northern hemisphere's summer solstice in 2042.

Mr Vakoch accepted that METI was likely to receive some backlash for its tactics.
Some critics, including Professor Stephen Hawking, have warned that actively sending messages into space is risky when we don't know how friendly aliens will be.

The famous physicist believes that if aliens discovered Earth, they would be likely to want to conquer and colonise our planet.

'If aliens visit us, the outcome could be much like when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans,' he said in an interview.

But despite this, Mr Vakoch maintains that beaming a message to Luyten's star isn't a risk.

He said: 'It's really hard to imagine a scenario in which a civilisation around Luyten's star could have the capacity to come to Earth and threaten us, and yet they're not able to pick up our leakage radiation.'

The researchers chose Luyten's star as a target due to the fact that it isn't too far from Earth, and is known to host two potentially habitable planets.

The team plans to send a second round of messages to Luyten's star in April 2018 at different radio frequencies, in the hopes of making contact with aliens.

Source: The Mail

risingbd/Nov 17, 2017/Mukul



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