The researchers decided to send a message to notify the aliens of Earth’s climate crisis and possibly request help.
The message was developed by a group called Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) International that wants to send a message, encoded in a radio signal, to the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system, which contains at least seven Earth-like planets.
“Any aliens who receive our message will not be surprised to hear about our climate crisis. They have had decades to watch our plight from afar,” said Douglas Vakoch, president of METI International.
“The great challenge of interstellar communication is to establish a common ground for understanding,” Vakoch said. To tackle this, the Goonhilly message will begin with the periodic table of elements.
Since the chemical elements are universal, any scientifically knowledgeable aliens should recognize the periodic table, METI International argued. That content would create common ground for the message to then describe some of the environmental challenges we are facing here on Earth.
Scientists hope that given the 13.8 billion year history of the universe and the relative youth of humanity, the alien civilization that received the message may be older and more advanced than ours, and thus could offer help in climate change mitigation.
The message’s authors hope that this age gap could offer hope for humans facing the climate crisis. If an alien species has managed to survive perhaps millions or even billions of years, then experts assume that they will have long ago solved any climate issues they may have faced and would now exist in a stable society.
However, the METI team does not expect a response message any time soon. Even if our message is immediately received and translated at a distance of 39 light years, it will take us 78 years to receive a response.