Lone Signal: How To Contact Aliens From Your Smartphone

By iScienceTimes Staff on June 13, 2013 2:50 PM EDT

satellite
Lone Signal will beam users' text and picture messages out into the galaxy using a radio telescope. The messages are aimed at Gliese 526, a red dwarf star which is a probable candidate for supporting extraterrestrial life. (Photo: Reuters)

A new project called Lone Signal, which launches on June 18, will send a continuous stream of text and picture messages out into the universe, in the hope of contacting extraterrestrial life. The start of the Lone Signal project marks the first time human beings have ever attempted to contact alien life by blasting continuous messages into the galaxy.

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"As soon as I can remember, I looked up at the stars and I thought, 'Is there anybody looking back at me?' I think there's just an inherent curiosity we all have," said Lone Signal chief marketing officer Ernesto Qualizza. "We all want to see what's on the other side of the next hill, and this is an extension of that curiosity."

Lone Signal chose to beam their messages to the red dwarf star Gliese 526, which is some 18 light years away. The star system is believed to be one of the more probable candidates for a space object supporting extraterrestrial life, as it ranks high on the Earth Similarity Index.

Lone Signal will allow anyone to send text and picture messages out into the galaxy via their website. The first text message is free, with subsequent text messages costing 99 cents for a batch of four. One picture message will cost 66 cents. Users will also be able to track how far their messaging beam has traveled.   

Lone Star has signed a 30-year lease to use California's Jamesburg Earth Station radio telescope to send the messages into space. Along with user-generated messages, the telescope will beam a "hailing message" that advanced alien life should be able to decode. The messages will be sent in binary code, and will contain information about Earth's solar system and civilizations.

"Our scientific goals are to discover sentient beings outside of our solar system," said Pierre Fabre, co-founder of Lone Star. "But an important part of this project is to get people to look beyond themselves and their differences by thinking about what they would say to a different civilization. Lone Signal will allow people to do that."

Sending messages into outer space in the hopes of contacting alien life is known as Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or METI.

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