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2009 News Releases




Send a message to an alien

Date : 17 / 08 / 2009
Author : Robert Broomhead - VK3DN

An Australian website "Hello From Earth" is collecting messages that will be transmitted to Gliese 581d, a planet outside our Solar System which may support life and all this, as part of 2009 National Science Week.

The Australian Cosmos magazine is offering inhabitants of the third planet from the Sun the chance to send text messages to aliens. The project, supported by the Australian government, is part of National Science Week. Anyone who wishes to do so can send a message using the Hello From Earth website until August 23.

The project has excited the global community, with 26,000 hits received by the Hello From Earth website in its first five minutes, crashing the system for a short time. Gliese 581d is eight times the size of Earth and 20 light years away, was located in April 2007. Scientists later discovered that the planet is within the habitable zone where liquid water, and therefore, life, could exist. The Gliese 581 system is one of the best candidates for life outside our Solar System.

On Sunday 23 August 2009 after the final message has been collected from the website, the messages will be exported as a text file to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, where it will be encoded into binary code, packaged and tested before transmission. The file will then be sent back to Australia to the NASA/CSIRO Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla, near Canberra where it will be sent via the 70-metre main antenna, known as Deep Space Station 43. DSS43 will transmit the signal to Gliese 581d on 24 August 2009, frequencies and power levels have not been disclosed.

Traveling at the speed of light, the signal will reach the solar system of Gliese 581 (the parent star) around December 2029 give or take a few months. The signal will need to cross 20.3 light-years 192 trillion km of interstellar space before reaching the planet.

COSMOS editor Wilson da Silva and assistant editor Jacqui Hayes describe what HELLO FROM EARTH is all about.


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