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First Contact: Simulating an Intelligent Extraterrestrial Message to Earth

A new project called Signal in Space simulates how Earth will respond to a signal from aliens and invites the public to help decode an extraterrestrial message (roughly)

The "Signal in Space" project simulates the reception and decoding of an extraterrestrial message.

What would happen if we received a message from an alien culture? Danielle de Paulis, a recognized interdisciplinary artist and licensed radio operator who currently serves as a guest artist at the SETI Institute and Green Bank Observatory, gathered a team of experts from around the world, including SETI researchers, space scientists and artists to execute her latest project, "Signal in Space".

The purpose of this activity is to investigate the process of deciphering and interpreting an extraterrestrial message by engaging the worldwide SETI community, professionals from various fields and the general public. This process requires global collaboration, to create a dialogue that will bridge SETI, space exploration and society across many cultures and areas of expertise.

As part of the project, on May 24, 2023, the European Space Agency's Mars Exo Mars Orbiter (TGO) transmitted an encrypted message to Earth to simulate receiving a signal from an extraterrestrial intelligence.

"Throughout history, humanity has sought meaning in powerful and transformative phenomena," said Daniela de Paulis, the artist with the vision behind the Signal in Space project. "Receiving a message from an extraterrestrial culture will be an experience that will cause a profound change in all humans. A signal in space offers an unprecedented opportunity to make a tangible return and prepare for this scenario through international cooperation, and promote an open search for meaning in all cultures and fields."

Three world-class radio astronomy observatories detected the encrypted message: SETI's Allen Telescope Array (ATA), the Robert C. Bird Green Bank (GBT) at the Green Bank Observatory (GBO) and the Medicina Radio Astronomical Station Observatory managed by the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF). The specific content of the encrypted message, developed by de Paulis and her team, has not yet been made public, to allow the public to contribute to deciphering and interpreting the content.

"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 ATA project scientist Dr. Waal Farah. "Beyond astronomy, communication with extraterrestrials will require broad knowledge. Through a signal in space, we hope to take the first steps to gather a community to meet this challenge."

The SETI Institute securely stored the processed data together with FileCoin, the world's largest distributed storage network. This collaboration ensures the preservation and accessibility of the processed data, and their availability for further analysis and decoding.

"We are delighted to participate with SETI in this ground-breaking project," said Stefan Parfat, director of network growth at Labs Protocol, the company behind FileCoin. "Our distributed storage solutions are ideally suited for reliable and secure storage of the large amounts of data created by this project."

Anyone who works on decoding and interpreting the message can talk about the process on the Discord server of a signal in space. You can submit findings, thoughts and artistic and scientific contributions through The dedicated submission form on the project website.

7 תגובות

  1. Any civilization that is more advanced consumes more energy from the planet's resources, while changing the atmosphere that harms and destroys the civilization itself, this is a natural process in the entire universe, and therefore very few civilizations passed this bottleneck and managed to survive, when they used an alternative polluting energy.

  2. A complete waste of time and money, this whole project is surely a simulation of something that probably won't happen, much like those who believe that the Messiah will come.
    If there is any message, it will come from such a great distance that it will be meaningless to try to "communicate" with them, until a message is passed to the other side or they will become extinct or humanity will become extinct or it will happen even before the message arrived.
    And if there is a culture that has advanced enough technology to get here in a reasonable amount of time, the "touch" we will feel will be similar to the touch an ant feels when someone tramples it without even noticing.
    It has to be said what is required, certain areas of science have deteriorated to the level of coffee readers and other charlatans who pretend to predict the future only that they invest much more money in it and give it a more serious and unfortunate touch.
    It will be more relevant if and when humanity succeeds in leaving Earth and actually settling in other planets, and this field is also currently very speculative.

  3. The paradigm says there is and if it doesn't cost money I believe.
    Since there are barriers in communication between man and man and other creatures, this worsens our situation.
    In conclusion, you should believe that this is a possibility.

  4. This anonymous user is me, and more,, the visual and general description of the aliens is synthetic, flying saucers glitter at night, strange physical descriptions, testimonies of people, some of them frauds, or physical phenomena, alien cultures must go through cultural processes similar to ours, philosophy, mathematics, literature, and more They are part of universal cultures, of course also wars, they are supposed to be very similar to us and also a little different, those who are looking for miraculous alien productions will be disappointed, in any case the chances of communication with aliens tends to zero

  5. Aliens in the universe are extremely rare, the STE project for listening in radio frequencies has existed for more than 60 years and nothing has been discovered,
    In the search for Earth-like planets using telescopes, no Earth counterpart has yet been discovered.
    Even if they discover a planet at the right distance from their star, it does not mean that there is life there, in any case, there may be one more alien culture in our galaxy, and maybe two more, if we assume that aliens exist, then all their cultures should go through a bottleneck of overexploitation of the planet's resources for energy production and existence, this can lead to their extinction and a change of atmosphere to a general lack of life, which means that most of the alien civilizations are approximately at our level due to wars or natural disasters, on Earth it took 5 billion years and an asteroid fall that wiped out almost the entire world of life to reach a technological civilization, about 300 years ago they discovered The scientists the compatibility between natural phenomena and mathematics, with the exception of the Archimedes case, in conclusion, the chance that we will discover intelligent aliens tends to zero

  6. Encrypted message? .. we haven't deciphered messages on Earth either. For example, the flickering of fireflies, octopuses and deep-sea fish, as well as an unimaginable number of stars and galaxies that blink in different types of light and radio frequencies that humanity has only recently discovered, I wonder what communication methods we still have no idea about, maybe artificial intelligence like OPENAI and the like will rise to the next level in a few years and monitor the our eyes

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