A new project aclled "Lone Signal" believes that crowd sourcing messaging to intelligent life (METI) is the ideal approach to establishing a stable, cohesive, and well-resourced interstellar beacon on Earth. Anyone with Internet access to compose and transmit messages to strategically targeted stellar systems. Launching June 18, 2013, Lone Signal’s unfettered access to the broadcasting capacity of Jamesburg Earth Station in Carmel, CA allows them to target the closest known stars suspected to harbor potentially habitable planets orbiting in their circumstellar habitable zones — otherwise referred to as “Goldilocks zones.”
Comparing the magnitude of deliberate radio broadcasts intended for messaging to extraterrestrial intelligence (METI) with the background radio spectrum of Earth, METI attempts to date have much lower detectability than emissions from current radio communication technologies on Earth.
METI broadcasts are usually transient and several orders of magnitude less powerful than other terrestrial sources such as astronomical and military radars, which provide the strongest detectable signals.
If we should pick up signals from alien civilizations, Stephen Hawking, our century's Einstein, warns: "we should have be wary of answering back, until we have evolved" a bit further. Meeting a more advanced civilization, at our present stage,' Hawking says "might be a bit like the original inhabitants of America meeting Columbus. I don't think they were better off for it."
Earth's attempts to contact intelligent, extraterrestrial life could be too disorganised or cryptic for non-human beings to decode, many physicists have reported. In a submission to the international journal, Space Policy, astrophysicists Dimitra Atri, Julia DeMarines and Jacob Haqq-Misra suggested that a protocol be developed to improve the likelihood that messages would be understood.
There has been some serious controversy over prior attempts to contact intelligent aliens, where instead of hiding in the corner and listening real hard some astronomers have beamed intense directional messages up up and away. Critics decried these actions as dangerous, though their fears reveal more about us than any eventual ETs. They assume that they would be similar to humanity, so their first response to finding a more primitive culture would be to exploit it. While such a fate might be pleasingly ironic (for anyone who isn't human, at least), others contend that any species that can make the journey here has advanced to a point where their goals are rather higher-minded than "Destroy Planet Earth".
Dr Alexander Zaitzev, of the Institute of Radio Engineering and Electronics at the Russian Academy of Sciences, doesn't think much of these worries either way. A proponent of METI (Messaging to Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence), in a paper he shows that the odds of one of the METI messages being detected is a millionth of that due to powerful radar pulses regularly used in astronomical investigation. Though whether writing a paper saying "This METI thing we're doing has only a tiny chance of working" is overall a good idea remains to be seen. An important point is that METI represents an intentional will to make contact, rather than the accidental alien interception of some random radiation from Earth - the difference between saying "Hello!" and just being a suspicious strange noise late at night.
Most of the objections to contacting aliens are weak under close examination. We can't suddenly decide to hide after fifty years of pumping electromagnetic radiation into space without rhyme or reason - in fact, we'd better hope that an advanced civilization doesn't catch an episode of "American Idol" and just vaporize us outright.
Then there's the assumption that aliens would have the same kind of technology we do - despite the extremely obvious fact that our technology can't actually get to other exo planets. Any attempt to mask radio emissions will likely look like cavemen closing their eyes to hide from satellite imaging.
Undaunted by prior controversy swirling around the METI effort, Atri and his team argued that Earth had been emitting electromagnetic signals for more than a century, mostly as "unintended leakage from television, aviation, and telecommunication".
"An advanced civilization within a radius of 100 light years could detect our television shows and already know we are here, so there is little hope in concealing our location in space," they wrote.
Since 1974, humans have broadcast the numbers one through ten, atomic numbers of elements in DNA, graphics of a human, the solar system, and Arecibo, musical melodies, text messages, photographs and drawings.
The researchers believe that messages had become increasingly "anthropocentric" and complex, which could make them more difficult for extraterrestrial listeners to decode and decipher.
"Modern technology allows for large amounts of data to be transmitted at moderate costs, but the broadcast of massive amounts of information assumes that the recipient extraterrestrials will be capable of comprehending a complex message," they wrote.
"Given that we know very little about the nature of extraterrestrial civilizations, if they exist, we are likely to increase the probability of us successfully communicating to them if we use a message that the recipient is likely to understand."
Once developed, a METI protocol could be used to test communication across human cultural boundaries, the researchers wrote.
They suggested the establishment of a website through which members of the public could create sample messages that conformed to the protocol, and retrieve and attempt to decrypt messages by other users.
"A METI protocol is needed in order for a unified and international effort to be made in messaging extraterrestrials," they concluded.
The Daily Galaxy via Lone Signal and http://www.rationalvedanta.net/node/131