Space Quote: Not a Hopeful Message

Image (Credit): The Very Large Array located at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NROA) site in Socorro, New Mexico, which is used by the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute. (Alex Savello/NROA)

“There is a real possibility that humans will not exist as a species thousands of years from now, and thus a ‘message in a bottle’ about the very basic details would at least serve as a small reminder that we existed.”

Statement by Kristen Fahy, a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist and co-author on a paper about a message of friendship to alien beings. The paper, A Beacon in the Galaxy: Updated Arecibo Message for Potential FAST and SETI Projects, calls for:

An updated, binary-coded message has been developed for transmission to extraterrestrial intelligences in the Milky Way galaxy. 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. The message concludes with digitized images of the human form, along with an invitation for any receiving intelligences to respond. 

I am not what the value of a ‘message in a bottle’ would be from a dead civilization. I was hoping for a more hopeful spin about why we want to send a message. Of course, many do not want to send a message at all because the alien response may not be what we want.