Alien Social Networking?

So it seems, a Ukranian radio telescope is being used to transmit a message to Gliese 581c. In fact, it already has — at 6am yesterday morning. I’m just guessing here, but the telescope is probably UTR-2 (officially, “Ukrainian T-shaped Radio telescope, second modification”). If so, that’s pretty impressive. It’s one of the largest decametre radio telescopes in the world!

Four and a half hours worth of randomness from the users of Bebo. And why not? If nothing else, it’ll inspire hundreds of people to the possiblity of alien intelligence. Maybe there is a moon around Gliese 581c with life on it. Maybe there’s even some life on 581c itself. Maybe 581c needs a slightly more inspiring name…

It would be interesting to know exactly how powerful the signal would be — then you could rank it on the San Marino scale. I’ve written about that before actually. Coincidentally that blog entry concerned the same Dr Alexander Zaitsev involved in this transmission!

The Sun, like any star, is a noisy thing. It emits a lot of radiation, which could easily drown out a weak signal. By the way, this means that no, aliens aren’t watching 50s american sitcoms somewhere. The original transmissions just weren’t powerful enough to leave the solar system. If UTR-2 can send out a signal at over 1000 times the intensity of the noise generated by the Sun, then anyone at Gliese 581c would receive a signal with a San Marino rating of 6 (Noteworthy). If it can manage 100,000 times the solar background noise, it would score an 8 (Far Reaching).

Who knows? Perhaps the 1977 “Wow” signal was someone else out there trying to do the exact same thing…

“Either the Wow! signal was the intercepted radiation from another civilization, or it’s a previously undiscovered astrophysical phenomenon. Either possibility is mind-boggling.”
— Paul Shuch, the SETI League

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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