Today (Wednesday, May 24) at 3PM Eastern Time, a message will be sent to Earth from Mars. Sure, we are always talking to our robots on Mars, but this is different. It’s a science/art/engineering experiment that can involve all of us. The message will be sent from a Mars orbiter belonging to the European Space Agency, and is encoded to simulate what intelligent extraterrestrials might say if they were searching for life in the cosmos, and how they might transmit it. Then the public will get a chance to try to decode it. The project is called A Sign In Space, designed by a team led by Daniela de Paulis, Artist in Residence at the SETI Institute.
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If everything goes right, the message will be intercepted by three institutes: the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array in California, the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, and the Medicina Radio Astronomical Station observatory in Italy. It will take 16 minutes to receive the message from Mars. You can observe the project unfold live at YouTube. If the message is successfully received, it will be made available to the public for crowdsourced decoding. If you can decipher it, you are invited to upload your text, files, or links here. I don’t see anything about a prize for decoding the message, or even for being the first to do it, but what an accomplishment that would be! Bragging rights forever. Read more about the project at Gizmodo. -via Metafilter
(Image credit: SETI Institute)