you think there is other intelligent life in outer space? Why haven't
they contacted us? Are they waiting fir us to make the first move?
Well, a University professor is taking the initiative.
forms of life efficiently sending messages millions of miles apart can
seem near impossible. Yet, the solution could be in a
"message-in-a-bottle-type approach," said University Professor
Christopher Rose. By launching into space a capsule containing written
information on various media, the chances of it reaching its
destination is improved.
Rose, a professor of electrical and
computer engineering, and Gregory Wright, a physicist not affiliated
with the University, co-wrote this analysis in an article titled,
"Inscribed matter as an energy-efficient means of communication with an
extraterrestrial civilization," which was published in the September
issue of the magazine NATURE.
Rose said this
message-in-a-bottle approach" is the most energy-efficient and
quality-efficient way of interstellar communication. Typically used are
radio waves, which disperse as they travel - making the signal fainter
and fainter as it travels through space from its point of origin,
increasing the odds of distortion by radiation.
work done at the University's Wireless Information Networks Laboratory
on Busch campus, Rose said he fell backward into the problem of
energy-efficient communications while worrying about improving wireless
Through this work, Rose said he realized
inscribed information could also be an excellent way to efficiently
communicate with lots of data rather than attempting to send the
information wirelessly to extraterrestrials.
To see whether
electromagnetically sending information - typically through radio waves
- is superior to inscribing material, Rose said the two methods'
respective "energy budget" must be compared. He defined energy budget
as the amount of energy each method uses to transport the same amount
"The energy necessary to send such [inscribed]
messages really is so much lower, it makes sense from an engineering
perspective," Rose said.
The exact message to be sent to extraterrestrials would all depend on the intentions, he said.
"You could send a 'return address,' where to call back and how. You could send biological material," Rose said.
Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft both sent into space in the 1970s used
plaques inscribed with various sorts of information, Rose said.
of ways to send messages, he said the ultimate goal - the one in which
he is most interested - is to find an extraterrestrial message.
we alone in the universe? Finding evidence that we're not would
arguably be the most important discovery of civilization ever," Rose