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Being the only observable intelligent life in the universe gets lonely sometimes, so it's no wonder we're trying to find something out there to phone home about.

Hosted By: Savannah Geary
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3 Messages We’ve Sent To Extraterrestrials:

We’re Talking To Aliens

The Wow! Signal

Will We Ever Find Intelligent Alien Life?

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[Savannah]: In 1982, an alien made its way to Earth and into our hearts. After 40 years, E.T., the extraterrestrial, remains a celebrated classic movie shared across generations. And while we're so happy to have E.T. on our tvs, we're still waiting for any real aliens to stop by. 

Some researchers have even gotten a little impatient in the wait and sent out beacons to let them know who and where we are. Okay, maybe they didn't send out the messages because of the movie, but those messages could be the first step to making it more of a reality. Here's what those messages looked like.

[Hank]: In the 1970's, if you wanted to describe life on Earth in a simple way, you probably knew who to ask, astronomers Frank Drake and Carl Sagan. Both were involved in astrophysics research and education, and Sagan had been consulted on NASA missions like the Venus Probe Mariner 2.

But when NASA was finalizing its plans for the Pioneer 10 and 11 missions, the first two spacecrafts to pass through the asteroid belt, Sagan proposed a plan which a journalist had suggested to him. Attatching a message to the probes explaining who we are and where we live in case they're ever found by another civilization. And NASA agreed.

Over the next few years, the two scientists put together three landmark representations of the human race, the first time that anyone had intentionally created messages to be sent outside the solar system to be read and interpreted by extraterrestrial life. 

Two were physical messages using NASA probe's couriers. The other one was more of a crafty mathematical code for aliens to crack. But all of them were attempts to describe ourselves to being who would have no concept of Earth, or humans, or even just simple units of measurement like meters or seconds.

We know the odds of these messages being detected by another civilization are very small. They'd have to find a small probe flying through space or be listening to exactly the right frequency at exactly the right time, but they sent them anyway.

Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 launched in the early 1970's and each carry a copy of the same plaque meant to explain where they came from. For anything on the plaque to make sense, Drake and Sagan realized they needed to use a universal language. 

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