Lightspeed Magazine has a fun rundown of humanity’s historical efforts to send space transmissions to whatever intelligent life might be out there. The whole endeavor is slightly desperate and pathetic — “The chances of an alien civilization having the means, motive, and opportunity to catch any of these messages are slim; certainly it’s not likely that humanity will last long enough to catch any return messages.” Still, it’s nice knowing that Morse code and theremin music has been beamed into the heavens.
1. The Morse Message (1962)
This audio salute, one of the first radio signals intended specifically for interstellar intelligence, was meant as a test of the new Evpatoria Planetary Radar (EPR). In November 1962, the Unique Korenberg Telescope Array transmitted the greeting towards Venus, using simple Morse Code. Given the location of Venus in November 1962, the message is even now winging its way towards Libra.
Message Content: The words “MIR,” “LENIN,” and “SSSR,” in Morse.
Message Assumptions: The Morse message assumes that aliens will be listening for a message that brief. Also, given the specificity, we’ll assume the content was symbolic; otherwise you’re asking for quite a bit of Earth current-events context.
Likely Impression: You know when a kid draws all over the wall with crayon, and you’d be really annoyed except you notice that the kid’s managed to spell his name somehow, so you end up mildly surprised, and after you send them to their room you talk about whether it’s already time for preschool? Like that.
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