Africa-Press – Lesotho. In order to test its ability to detect a real signal sent to Earth by extraterrestrials, Earthlings are going to remotely send themselves a fake alien message from Mars later this week.
On Thursday, the European Space Agency’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), parked in orbit around the red planet, will broadcast an encoded message at Earth, which observers at radio observatories around the world will attempt to decode and decipher.
The effort has been dubbed “A Sign in Space” and will include efforts by the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array (ATA), the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) at the Green Bank Observatory (GBO), and the Medicina Radio Astronomical Station observatory managed by Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF).
The message has been created by artist Daniela de Paulis, an established interdisciplinary artist and licensed radio operator who currently serves as Artist in Residence at the SETI Institute and the Green Bank Observatory.
However, once they detect the message, the teams will process the signal and then crowdsource its decoding, publishing the message online. Those working on the decoding process will be able to discuss it on a special Discord server.
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) is a collective term for attempts by humans to contact or be contacted by alien species that began with the advent of radio in the early 20th century. However, it also expanded to include a number of other technologies as well – but so far to no avail.
Several phenomena believed to be possible signs of alien life have later turned out to be either naturally occurring, such as pulsars, or man-made, such as reflections of signals off debris in Earth orbit.
That said, Congress has acquired a renewed interest in unidentified flying objects (UFOs) in recent years over concerns they might be futuristic aircraft designed by other nations.
It has required the Pentagon to submit annual reports on UFO investigations, including explanations. Meanwhile, former pilots who have seen UFOs have called on others to come forward with their stories. According to the Pentagon, alien visitors poking around Earth is not among the explanations given for any of the unexplained phenomena.