Today, a groundbreaking event is set to take place as Earth anticipates the reception of an extraordinary message from Mars, believed to be of extraterrestrial origin.
The renowned SETI Institute is spearheading this monumental endeavor, intending to transmit an encoded signal from a spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet to three colossal telescopes stationed on our own planet.
The ultimate goal is to equip scientists with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the profoundly transformative experience that awaits humanity when genuine contact is established with beings from beyond our world, as explained by the researchers.
While crucial details surrounding the mission remain shrouded in secrecy, including the nature of the signal and its contents, it is estimated that the radio transmission will traverse the vast expanse between Mars and Earth in approximately five to 20 minutes.
The air of mystery surrounding the encoded transmission stems from the fact that the SETI Institute plans to involve the public in the decoding process. Once received, the signal will be made available to the public, enlisting their assistance in unraveling its hidden meaning.
Scheduled for transmission at 3 pm ET, the encoded message will be beamed from the European Space Agency’s Mars orbiter, known as the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), which has been diligently studying the Martian atmosphere since 2016.
After a journey spanning an astounding 180 million miles through the depths of space, the encoded transmission will reach Earth approximately 16 minutes later.
Noted visionary artist Daniela dePaulis, the mastermind behind the awe-inspiring A Sign in Space project, expressed in a statement the profound impact that receiving a message from an extraterrestrial civilization would have on humanity.
She emphasized the project’s significance in allowing for global collaboration, promoting an open-ended search for meaning across cultures and disciplines.
The SETI Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to multidisciplinary research and education, leads the charge in humanity’s quest to comprehend the origins and prevalence of life and intelligence in the vast Universe.
A Sign in Space stands as an unprecedented initiative, embarking on a venture never before undertaken—the transmission of a signal from Earth to space, with the aim of establishing contact.
To capture the anticipated ‘alien’ signal, the Allen Telescope Array (ATA), Robert C. Byrd at the Green Bank Observatory (GBT) in West Virginia, and the Medicina Radio Astronomical Station in northern Italy will collaborate in collecting data from Mars.
Once SETI successfully captures the signal, the processed data will be securely stored in partnership with the Open Data Archive and Filecoin, a decentralized storage network. In an effort to engage the public, the SETI Institute will conduct a live-streamed social media event, featuring interviews with key team members, including scientists, engineers, and artists, broadcasting from various locations worldwide, including the control rooms at ATA, GBT, and Medicina.
Those involved in the decoding and interpretation of the message will have the opportunity to discuss their findings and share artistic and scientific insights through the dedicated A Sign in Space Discord server and the project’s official website.
Following the transmission, the A Sign in Space team will facilitate a series of Zoom-based discussions open to the public, exploring the societal implications that would arise from the detection of a signal from an extraterrestrial civilization. These enlightening discussions will span a period of six to eight weeks following the reception of the transmission.
In a separate study, researchers project that contact with aliens could potentially occur by 2029, further emphasizing the timeliness and significance of SETI’s groundbreaking experiment.
In a previous demonstration of our attempts to reach out to the unknown, NASA sent a radio wave transmission to the Pioneer 10 probe in 2002, employing standard protocols for data transmission and communication establishment.