In humanity’s latest attempt to avoid solving its own horrific problems, via the channel of expensive scientific escapism, scientists have sent a radio transmission towards planet GJ 273b

 

Planet GJ 273b will receive a transmission of music and mathematics from a group of wildly optimistic scientists and their side-kick musician collaborators. Scientists who would rather waste money on pointless things, than spend money on real and pertinent issues here on earth. Pertinent issues like climate change, poverty, and war.

 

 

Consequently, other scientists feel skeptical about their colleagues sending this transmission towards a random planet in outer space

Indeed, the theory has it that GJ 273b is potentially a habitable planet like Earth. Nonetheless, there is no proof that any life exists there. And of course, no proof that anything could receive such a transmission.

It was scientists in Spain that came up with the wild idea to collaborate with musicians so to concoct a message to random alien beings 12 light years away. Along with the organization Messaging to Extra-Terrestrial intelligence (METI), the International and the Institue of Space Studies of Catalonia got together with the Sonar Music Festival to achieve the zealous feat.

What will these supposed alien neighbors expect to hear from this rather ambitious selection of humans, calling out to them on behalf of the rest of us? The group of artists and science fanatics sent thirty-three 10-second musical pieces as well as a brief lesson on how to tell the time.

 

Just to be sure, this ambitious group broadcasted this message nine times.

The team believed that this would ensure that the unknown outer space creatures, who don’t even realize they are supposed to receive something, would receive the entire message.

 

 

However, don’t get too excited thinking that we will imminently see the beckoned alien’s spacecraft in the sky, dropping by the earth for a coffee, biscuit and a chat. Scientists predict that it could take around 24 years for extraterrestrials to respond.

This theoretically gives humans a quarter of a century to tidy up our planetary home. This planetary home we have devastatingly trashed, that we call Earth. And who knows? Maybe, ironically, these aliens will communicate better with the whales, or even the cows of the field? Only time will tell.

 

 

Three prominent scientists decided to voice their opinions on the team’s wild endeavor to make contact with those ever elusive extraterrestrials.

All agreed there were pros and cons to making this effort. The most significant advantage is that we could find out if there are other conscious beings that we share this universe with us. Which of course leaves the apparent disadvantage, being that it could lead to our imminent destruction.

Theoretical physicist Brian Greene is very excited about the transmission into outer space. He added that he thinks “we should be all shouting and cheering at the heavens. Let’s join the community of cosmic life if there’s anything out there.

Nevertheless, Greene remains skeptical that such a short time of 33 minutes would be enough for our message to be registered by aliens. He wondered what the chances could be that any life forms would be likely to have a radio receiver to pick up the transmission.

 

 

Jill Tarter used to be the Director for SETI, which stands for the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence Institute. She feels considerably more reserved about brazenly sending messages directed to unknown beings from outer space.

Tarter said “I think it’s probably not the best idea. I think that transmissions should only happen as the result of the consensus. After there’s been a discussion about whether we should. But not only that, if we decide to, then who would speak for Earth and what should they say?

 

 

Director of the Columbia Astrobiology Center, Caleb Scharf is greatly concerned about the risk involved in trying to contact a potentially dangerous civilization. He views the team’s efforts as naive, and that aliens may perceive their friendly gesture as anything but.

 

Scharf feels that any alien civilization capable of picking up a random and short message from us would likely have technology far advanced than ours. Consequently, this could mean they may view us at the level of less sentient animals to themselves.

Indeed, they could make us into pets, or even factory farm us as food. Indeed, while it would be apt karma for the human race, many people would be frightened to face such comeuppance.

 

What do you think?

Was it wise for these scientists to transmit a message into outer space? Or was it a potentially fatal move? Please leave your comments below.

 

References: Business Insider, Science Alert, Space.com
Image credit: Timothy Takemoto via flickr.com