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Plan to beam Earth’s location into space could cause alien invasion, scientists warn

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Can NASA cause an alien invasion? Plan to beam Earth’s location into space could lead to accidental contact with unknown civilizations, scientists warn

  • NASA plans to send information about Earth and humanity to the outer galaxy
  • The message is sent to a place where alien civilizations can live
  • But an Oxford researcher warned that a hostile civilization could misuse the information
  • “I don’t think this is a good situation,” Toby Ord . said

A NASA plan to beam Earth’s location into space could inadvertently trigger an alien invasion, Oxford scientists warn.

The binary coded ‘Beacon In The Galaxy’ message will broadcast information about the solar system, Earth’s surface and humanity to a part of the galaxy identified as the most likely home of alien civilizations.

It is an updated version of the Arecibo message, which sent similar information into space in 1974 using a radio telescope in Puerto Rico.

Researchers fear the risk of a hostile alien invasion outweighs the probe’s chances

However, Anders Sandberg, a senior research fellow at Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute (FHI), warned that sharing such information carries a risk.

He told The Daily Telegraph that while the message was unlikely to reach an alien civilization, “it has such an impact that you have to take it pretty seriously.”

He said the “giggle factor” around the quest for extraterrestrial intelligence meant that “a lot of people just refuse to take anything related to it seriously, which is a shame because this is important stuff.”

dr. Sandberg also said that given the difficulty of traversing interstellar space, a message received even by a highly advanced civilization could be little more than “a postcard that reads, ‘I wish you were here’.”

Oxford researcher Anders Sandberg said hostile aliens could send more than just a postcard

Oxford researcher Anders Sandberg said hostile aliens could send more than just a postcard

The message will be beamed to a part of the galaxy where extraterrestrial life is most likely

The message will be beamed to a part of the galaxy where extraterrestrial life is most likely

Toby Ord, the colleague of Dr. Sandberg at the FHI made similar arguments in The Precipice, a book published in 2020 in which he analyzed the existential risks and future of humanity.

dr. Ord said the most important question is the relationship between peaceful and hostile civilizations.

He added: ‘We have very little evidence on whether this is high or low, and there is no scientific consensus. Since the downside can be much larger than the top, I don’t think this is a good situation to actively take steps towards contact.’

A region of the Milky Way with a rich collection of nebulae (image captured in 2019)

A region of the Milky Way with a rich collection of nebulae (image captured in 2019)

The planned message, which will end with an invitation for aliens to respond, includes basic mathematical and physical concepts to develop a universal means of communication, followed by information about the biochemical makeup of life on Earth.

It will also broadcast the Solar System’s location relative to major star clusters, as well as digitized images of the Solar System, Earth’s surface, and male and female humans.

NASA does not plan to send the message itself, but instead proposes to broadcast it from China’s 500-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope and the Allen Telescope Array at the SETI Institute in Northern California.

The project’s team of researchers said communication is “an incredibly intriguing development in the scientific exploration of the cosmos.”

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