On this episode of Science to Save the World, we discuss METI and how it intends to communicate to anyone who might be listening.
We sent a message to aliens. Should we be doing that? What if someone answers? Or, perhaps even more alarming, what if no one answers and we find out that we are alone?
METI International, known as METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence), is a non-profit research organization that creates and transmits interstellar messages in order to attempt communication with extraterrestrial civilizations. It was founded and is run by Douglas Vakoch, an American astrobiologist, researcher, and psychologist.
Unlike SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence), METI actively sends messages into space with the intention of communication with alien beings.
METI broadcasts messages to space using radio signals by alternating frequencies. Other famous attempts at communicating with aliens are discussed in this video, including the Arecibo Message and the Voyager Golden Records.
The primary objectives and purposes of METI International are to: – Conduct scientific research and educational programs in Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). – Promote international cooperation and collaboration in METI, SETI, and astrobiology. – Understand and communicate the societal implications and relevance of searching for life beyond Earth, even before detection of extraterrestrial life. – Foster multidisciplinary research on the design and transmission of interstellar messages, building a global community of scholars from the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts. – Research and communicate to the public the many factors that influence the origins, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe, with a special emphasis on the last three terms of the Drake Equation: (1) the fraction of life-bearing worlds on which intelligence evolves, (2) the fraction of intelligence-bearing worlds with civilizations having the capacity and motivation for interstellar communication, and (3) the longevity of such civilizations. – Offer programs to the public and to the scholarly community that foster increased awareness of the challenges facing our civilization’s longevity, while encouraging individual and community activities that support the sustainability of human culture on multigenerational timescales, which is essential for long-term METI and SETI research.
This goes beyond the search for UFOs (unidentified flying objects) and little green men on Earth – this is an attempt to communicate with intelligent advanced lifeforms elsewhere in our galaxy, which would be higher than humans on the Kardashev scale. They may have Dyson spheres, Matrioshka brains, space elevators, and more.
According to the Drake equation, there should be a number of extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy and in our universe, but we’re not seeing them. This is the Fermi paradox, and METI hopes to make contact.