Well, that is, I’m going to compose a “tweet” that will be among probably millions, which will be beamed into space, and have an ever-so-slightly-better-than-average chance at reaching beings that have intelligence comparable to humans. And realize that when I say “average”, I’m not talking about a 50% chance. I’m talking about virtually zero chance, because that’s the odds that intelligent life would be encountered along any given trajectory. So the odds are slightly above zero. It’s slightly more likely that it will be received by aliens than if you picked a direction at random, but still almost definitely not.
Perhaps I should explain. In 1977, the SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) project picked up a signal that did not appear to have been produced by natural means. It lasted the full 72 seconds for which the SETI instruments were able to observe it, and resembled what would be expected for an alien transmission. The scientist who saw the signal on the printout circled it, and wrote the comment “Wow!” in the margin. And so it was dubbed the “Wow! Signal”. Now, 35 years later, we’re going to send a response. Of course, like I said, odds are, it will be received by no one. Expecting a race of aliens to receive it requires one to make a number of crazy assumptions, such as:
-The Wow! Signal actually was an alien transmission.
-We have correctly identified its origin. (Given the fact that subsequent searches for recurrences of the signal crapped a big goose egg, it seems to me that either it was an anamoly or we’ve got the wrong spot.)
-The aliens who produced the signal will receive our response.
So yeah. Not too likely. And even so, if all of that were to work out, we then need to hope that the Wow! Signal wasn’t something like, “A species that wants to be enslaved says ‘what’.” (If a UFO full of slave-seeking aliens shows up, looking for the ones responsible for the response, I say we throw the dolphins under the bus.)
Still, it’s the opportunity to have your own personal message blasted out into space. If I’d been alive and had the opportunity to contribute something to the Voyager spacecrafts, you bet your ass I would have. And I’m certainly going to participate in this event. And so can you. If you’re interested, get on Twitter, and any time between Friday night at 8:00 EST and 3:00 am EST on Saturday, compose a tweet with the hashtag #ChasingUFOs. See all the details here.
Here’s the message I’m sending: “All that is, is fate, a continuous, ever expanding cycle of identity and circumstance."
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