Alien discovery: How experts warned against daring mission to find life outside Earth | Science | News

On November 16, 1974, a team of daring explorers sent a coded message into the atmosphere in the hope of connecting with aliens across the galaxy. Using an advanced Arecibo Radio Telescope, a team from Puerto Rico sent a signal known as the Arecibo message, containing vital information about human life into space.

The broadcast was depicted into a graphic and sent information about the solar system, DNA, an outline of a human, the population on Earth and essential biochemical elements crucial to life.

The carefully-crafted transmission consisted of 1,679 bits which were arranged into 73 lines of 23 characters.

Written in binary code — a series of ones and zeros – were transmitted by frequency shifting at the rate of 10 bits per second.

The broadcast sent to communicate with life outside Earth was less than three minutes long.

It was aimed at the globular star cluster M13, which is located around 25,000 light years from Earth.

The cluster situated near the edge of the Milky Way galaxy and contains approximately a 300,000 stars.

However it was never expected to reach its destination as the stars will have moved by the time the message reaches them.

Dr Frank Drake from Cornell University wrote the message along with a team of explores, which also included all the atomic number of the elements hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and phosphorus, that make up deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

Now more than 46 years have passed some of the information sent will now be out of date, in 1974 the transmission said the size of the human population was nearly 4.3 billion, this has now almost doubled to 7.7bn.

In 1999, Cornell University insisted the real purpose of the message was not to make contact but to show the power of the new advanced equipment.

In 2010, Professor Stephen Hawking issued a stern warning against reaching out to any life outside of planet Earth.

Professor Hawking likened the mission to Christopher Columbus discovering the US in the 15th century.

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Meanwhile, Dan Werthimer, a SETI researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, said: “It’s like shouting in a forest before you know if there are tigers, lions, and bears or other dangerous animals there.”

The only signs of a message back from outside the universe was detected back in 2001 – when a crop circle was found in a field in the UK.

In Hampshire, a crop circle initially appeared to mirror the original message with some subtle changes, it had swapped the element carbon from the initial DNA for silicon and the human being depicted, was replaced with a typical alien found in science fiction novels – it was quickly deemed a hoax.

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