Friday marks the 44th anniversary of this interstellar communication and Google remembered the feat with an animated doodle.
The doodle visible in most of Asia, Australia, parts of Europe and South America was designed by Gerben Steenks. The alphabets of Google fades into radio signals and comes back in the form of pictograph.
The Arecibo message is a 1974 interstellar radio message carrying basic information about humanity and Earth sent to globular star cluster M13 in the hope that extraterrestrial intelligence might receive and decipher it. The message was broadcast into space a single time via frequency modulated radio waves at a ceremony to mark the remodeling of the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico on 16 November 1974. The message was aimed at the current location of M13 some 25,000 light years away because M13 was a large and close collection of stars that was available in the sky at the time and place of the ceremony. The message consisted of 1,679 binary digits, approximately 210 bytes, transmitted at a frequency of 2,380 MHz and modulated by shifting the frequency by 10 Hz, with a power of 450 kW. The "ones" and "zeros" were transmitted by frequency shifting at the rate of 10 bits per second. The total broadcast was less than three minutes.
On November 16, 1974, a group of scientists including Frank Drake, the creator of the Drake equation, and American astronomer Carl Sagan sent a less-than-three-minute radio message to Messier 13 (M13), a globular cluster in the constellation of Hercules which is 25,000 light years away. The message consisted of 1,679 binary digits, approximately 210 bytes, transmitted at a frequency of 2,380 MHz and modulated by shifting the frequency by 10 Hz, with a power of 450 kW. The message was sent from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.
If at all there is an Earth-like planet in Hercules with intelligent life in it, the message will take more than 25,000 years to reach them! But there was another purpose for this experiment — to display the capabilities of the upgraded Arecibo telescope. “ It was strictly a symbolic event, to show that we could do it,” said Donald Campbell, Cornell University professor of astronomy, who was a research associate at the Arecibo Observatory at the time.
In the 44 years since it was first transmitted, the message has traveled 259 trillion miles, only a tiny fraction of the 146,965,638,531,210,240 or so miles to its final destination, according to a Google blog post. But we may not have to wait so long for a reply.
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