Mon January 31, 2011
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The Alien Protocol

For those interested in the discussion started a few weeks on sending messages to ET, a paper appeared a few weeks ago in the astro preprint server that is worth a good look.

A Protocol for Messaging to Extraterrestrial Intelligence by Dimitra Atri, Julia DeMarines and Jacob Haqq-Misra

From the abstract -

Here we outline the development of a self-consistent protocol for messaging to extraterrestrial intelligence that provides constraints and guidelines for the construction of a message in order to maximize the probability that the message effectively communicates. A METI protocol considers several factors including signal encoding, message length, information content, anthropocentrism, transmission method, and transmission periodicity. Once developed, the protocol will be released for testing on different human groups worldwide and across cultural boundaries. An effective message to extraterrestrials should at least be understandable by humans, and releasing the protocol for testing will allow us to improve the protocol and develop potential messages. Through an interactive website, users across the world will be able to create and exchange messages that follow the protocol in order to discover the types of messages better suited for cross-cultural communication. The development of a METI protocol will serve to improve the quality of messages to extraterrestrials, foster international collaboration, and extend astrobiology outreach to the public.

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