Scientists are planning to beam a radio message into deep space with detailed information on human life that had the late Stephen Hawking worried.
Hawking generally supported any and all efforts to find alien life in the outer reaches of space but had warned scientists about actively reaching out ourselves, according to Newsweek. Hawking was concerned that any aliens who may happen upon our signal might not respond in the most friendly of ways, the outlet reported.
“If you look at history, contact between humans and less intelligent organisms have often been disastrous from their point of view, and encounters between civilizations with advanced versus primitive technologies have gone badly for the less advanced,” Hawking said at the time, noting that any superior forms of life “may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria.”
Now, a new message is being reportedly beamed to space with detailed information on Earth’s location, the solar system and human DNA. The Beacon in the Galaxy (BITG) message is an update on the 1974 binary code Arecibo message, which had the same purpose, Newsweek noted.
“The proposed message includes basic mathematical and physical concepts to establish a universal means of communication followed by information on the biochemical composition of life on Earth, the Solar System’s time-stamped position in the Milky Way relative to known globular clusters, as well as digitized depictions of the Solar System, and Earth’s surface,” BITG creator Jonathan Jiang wrote in the study surrounding the message, “The message concludes with digitized images of the human form, along with an invitation for any receiving intelligences to respond.”
The BITG message team said that they believe the benefits of contacting aliens far outweighs any potential risks, according to Newsweek. “Stephen Hawking’s quote is absolutely inspiring and my personal conclusion was that any species capable of understanding and interpreting our message will likely be equally if not more intelligent and wary of our existence,” Jamilah Hah, a BITG team member told Newsweek.
The message has yet to be broadcast, but will co-launch from the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array in northern California and the Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope in China, Newsweek continued. (RELATED: Pentagon Investigator Claims Military Service Members Experienced Paranormal Activity After Visiting Haunted Ranch)
Astronomers Come up With a New Message to let the Aliens Know we’re Here – Known as The Beacon in the Galaxy (BITG) message, this updated signal combines aspects of the original Arecibo Message with every METI attempt made to date. https://t.co/wEYbAPzM7g @universetoday pic.twitter.com/zUVXrQKtCG
— The SETI Institute (@SETIInstitute) April 1, 2022
Hawking has previously compared humanity’s encounter with alien life to the Native Americans meeting Columbus, “that didn’t turn out so well,” he said, according to Space. The famed physicist clearly had fears of contacting alien life, but these were outweighed by his desire to know if they were really out there, according to another Space article.
Hawking’s Breakthrough Listen project focused on searching for signs of intelligent life rather than broadcasting signals from Earth, the article continued. The project launched in 2015 and was given a 10-year duration, Space noted. In 2021, Breakthrough Listen announced that much of their work was being interfered with by human technologies, according to Phys.