Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Framework for Extraterrestrial Communications Proposed

(IT News) Earth's previous attempts to contact intelligent, extraterrestrial life could be too disorganised or cryptic for non-human beings to decode, US physicists have reported.

In a submission to the international journal, Space Policy, postgraduate astrophysicists Dimitra Atri, Julia DeMarines and Jacob Haqq-Misra suggested that a protocol be developed to improve the likelihood that messages would be understood.

The messaging to extraterrestrial intelligence protocol (METI, pdf) would include constraints and guidelines for signal encoding, message length, information content, the researchers wrote.

It should also specify a transmission strategy, they said, suggesting a simple physical or mathematical language with the signal repeated regularly to avoid being overlooked as noise.

The researchers suggested transmissions use either 1.42 GHz or 4.46 GHz frequencies to coincide with radio frequencies commonly observed in nature, and assuming "modest technical capabilities" of an extraterrestrial receiver. (Read more)

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