Wanna tweet to aliens? Cold War dish to target deep space

Lone Signal is a crowdsourcing project to send signals to hypothetical aliens who live around a star that's 17 light-years away. What could go wrong?

Jamesburg Earth Station
California's Jamesburg Earth Station was built to support the Apollo 11 moonshot and was hardened against nuclear attack. Jamesburg Earth Station

The people of Gliese 526 are waiting for news of Earth.

They may or may not exist, and they may or may not want to invade our planet once they learn about us. But a project to crowdsource and send messages to them wants to try to make contact anyway.

Lone Signal is an effort to send a continuous stream of hellos to the folks at Gliese 526, a red dwarf star 17.6 light-years away in the constellation Bootes, aka Wolf 498.

A group of space enthusiasts including Jacob Haqq-Misra of the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science plans to use the Jamesburg Earth Station, a nuke-proof satellite relay station in California that dates from the 1960s, to beam crowdsourced messages to the system.

Recently offered for sale at $3 milllon, the Cold War relic has a fascinating history including helping to broadcast images of Neil Armstrong on the moon.

The Lone Signal group, which has a 30-year lease on the facility, plans to direct two beams at Gliese 526: a continuous wave with fundamental physics laws and basic information about Earth, and another consisting of crowdsourced greetings.

Anyone can send a free initial short message -- the equivalent of a 144-character tweet -- once the project is up and running. Sending subsequent messages, images, and longer greetings, however, will cost money (about $1 for four texts) that will help the project fund itself.

The project's Web site will also let participants track their messages and share them via social media, dedicate messages to others, and view signal stats.

"Our scientific goals are to discover sentient beings outside of our solar system," Lone Signal co-founder Pierre Fabre, told Universe Today.

"But an important part of this project is to get people to look beyond themselves and their differences by thinking about what they would say to a different civilization. Lone Signal will allow people to do that."

Check out the funny Lone Signal promo vid below. What would you say to the aliens of Gliese 526?

Please don't hurt us?


 

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