Monday , April 19 2021

Google celebrates 44 years of Arecibo message: humanity's first attempt to speak to "foreigners"

Google is marking the 44th anniversary of the Arecibo Message, which is Mankind's first attempt to communicate with intelligent life beyond our planet with a doodle.

The Arecibo Message is an interstellar radio message from 1974 that brings basic information about humanity and Earth sent to the globular cluster of M13 stars in the hope that the extraterrestrial intelligence can receive it and decipher it.

Forty-four years ago a group of scientists gathered at the Arecibo Observatory in the rainforests of Puerto Rico sent the three-minute message from Arecibo to a cluster of stars 25,000 light-years from Earth.

"His three-minute radio message – a series of exactly 1,679 binary digits (a multiple of two prime numbers) that could be arranged in a 73-row grid by 23 columns – was destined for a cluster of stars at 25,000 light-years from the earth". "Said Google.

Source: Google

The transmission is important because it demonstrated the power of the Arecibo radio telescope, which was the largest and most powerful in the world at the time.

The message was transmitted using the Arecibo megawatt transmitter connected to its 305-meter antenna, the latter concentrating the transmitter's energy, sending it to a small piece of the sky.

The emission was equivalent to an omnidirectional transmission of 20 trillion watts and is said to be detectable by a SETI experiment anywhere in the galaxy, assuming a receiving antenna similar in size to that of Arecibo.

The Arecibo Message was conceived by researchers including Carl Sagan of Cornell University, led by Dr. Frank Drake, the astronomer and astrophysicist responsible for the Drake Equation. The Drake Equation is used to estimate the number of planets that host the extraterrestrial life within the Milky Way.

In the message, bits are arranged in 73 lines of 23 characters per line (both are prime numbers and can help aliens decode the message). The rectangular grid of 0s and 1s forms an image representing human DNA, some fundamental facts of mathematics, the position of the Earth in the solar system, and an image of a human-like figure, along with an image of the telescope itself.

From now on, the message would have traveled only 259 trillion miles.

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