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Television For an Audience 45 Light Years Away 324

beebopdebop writes, "The Irish Times notes that Europe goes intergalactic tonight with the broadcast of a program conceived for aliens and broadcast towards a point 45 light years away in the direction of the Big Dipper. The two naked hosts will present their own unclothed bodies as examples of our physical embodiments, and will tell about daily human existence. Music, art, and our own personal messages will be transmitted as well as discussions from sociologists, scientists, and space experts. This project is the brainchild of the French-based Centre National D'etudes Spatiales and is rooted in seriousness as a natural extension of the gold-plated ambassador disks of Pioneer 10. Those of us wishing to be included can still post messages to be sent into space via a CNES antenna. We will have to wait 90 years to learn whether or not some lifeform was listening."
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Television For an Audience 45 Light Years Away

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  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:06AM (#16264327) Homepage Journal

    Since the target is only 45 light years away surely that should be intragalactic.

  • by the grace of R'hllor ( 530051 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:09AM (#16264337)
    No, we'd have to wait a few years longer. Before 'they' figure out that it was a transmission, before they've decoded it correctly (do you think they use PAL or NTSC? Decisions!) and can begin to interpret it (who says they have eyes or ears?), manage to figure out what we are and what we're actually saying, and managed to construct a reply in a format that we're likely to be able to decode, you're probably looking at quite a few years.

    Given that we've only just managed to decipher what our own first man on moon actually said after a few decades, I think you're looking at decades of work.

    And all that's before they even manage to create and send a reply, which will take 45 years to get here.
  • by tehSpork ( 1000190 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:35AM (#16264441)
    So, the real question is: Will these episodes be aired on our planet? :)
  • by beh ( 4759 ) * on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:38AM (#16264449)
    I'd be curious to know how they want to prepare any potential "viewers" for what's in the stream coming to them...

    Even if they get a broadcast at a certain frequency - how intuitive will it be for an alien listener, that this broadcast will be audio/video in PAL, SECAM or NTSC coding?

    Sounds pretty useless to me - about the same chance, as if they send a windows version of the Encyclopedia Britannica out for aliens to browse through...

    In comparison, the gold plate on voyager is something more readily accessible - as an effort was made to keep the message simple.
  • 90 years (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xemu ( 50595 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:43AM (#16264459) Homepage
    We will have to wait 90 years to learn whether or not some lifeform was listening.

    But then the MPAA can still sue them for DCMA and copyright violations if they decoded the movie without a license and used parts of our broadcast in their reply!
  • Uh, too late. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Guillaume Castel ( 1002740 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @06:52AM (#16264493)
    That's just great. Yet another announcement for a past event. Thank you /.
  • by IWannaBeAnAC ( 653701 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @07:17AM (#16264549)
    You should realize, the equivalence nakedness == pornography is virtually unique to the USA.
  • by Denial93 ( 773403 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @07:44AM (#16264629)
    >You should realize, the equivalence nakedness == pornography is virtually unique to the USA.

    And to those sorry people who have girlfriends with the last names of GIF and JPG. With the population of American geeks here, it surprises me that noone has yet wondered why we don't do it properly and send those aliens
  • Couple things (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @07:50AM (#16264663)
    1) Just because we blast out signals all the time doesn't mean they are perceptible from any distance. None of our normal transmission systems are designed for anything but terrestrial operation. A large number face the Earth, many are low power and omnidirectional, and so on. Not the kind of thing really designed to be noticeable at interstellar distances. The SNR is likely to be too low. So something specifically designed and focused for it has a much better chance.

    2) I don't think it's a worry if they are hostile because it wouldn't really matter. Supposing they are a hostile race, and thus devote a good deal of research and effort to weapons development as we do, and supposing their technology is far enough ahead of ours that they could send an invasion fleet (something we are at least hundreds of years away form, maybe more) I think its' safe to assume that we would get rolled regardless of the information we provided. I mean think of it like this: Would it really matter if a society like 18th century Europe gave any info to a foe as advanced as the current US military? The technology difference is so massive that there's no hope. A single armour division would probably be sufficient to crush whole armies.

    Now please don't let this give the impression that I don't think this is a massive waste of time and money, it is, but not because of the reasons you listed (it's a waste because in all likelihood there's nothing there).
  • Re:Naivete.... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by VendettaMF ( 629699 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @08:09AM (#16264715) Homepage
    Assuming we recognised it as a coherent signal at any rate.

    Previously explorers have gone out and been eaten. They haven't sent out messages saying "I'm here. Come and do what you will to me".

    Previous explorers risked themselves, not their entire civilisations.
    I'm not saying don't look. I'm just saying look cautiously, with a recognition that any intellignet life whose development we can comprehend will have evolved with (psychological) self-preservation and combat capabilities.

    Previous explorers also tended to have defense capabilities equivalent to the task. Most civilisations capable of plucking a TV signal from the ether and decoding it completely (from scratch) will be so far beyond us that should they decide we're a danger (or even decide we're too noisy and likely to draw negative attention to this corner of the spiral) we'll never even know about it.

  • Re:Naivete.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by noamsml ( 868075 ) <noamsml@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Sunday October 01, 2006 @08:09AM (#16264721) Homepage
    Your immediate assumption might be that alien intelligence must be superior, but why would you assume that?
  • by McDutchie ( 151611 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @09:02AM (#16264923) Homepage
    You should realize, the equivalence nakedness == pornography is virtually unique to the USA.

    That's actually not true. In other theocracies it's often the same or even worse.

  • by Pedrito ( 94783 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @10:28AM (#16265341)
    You should realize, the equivalence nakedness == pornography is virtually unique to the USA.

    Au contraire, we share that distinction with a number of other countries that have their governments controlled by strong fundamentalist religious groups.
  • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Sunday October 01, 2006 @03:16PM (#16267975)
    and perhaps we should broadcast this to people on earth to see if there are aliens amongst us?
  • Re:The reply: (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02, 2006 @09:51AM (#16276073)
    So since they are European the alien response should be, "Take a shower with soap, shave your arm pits, and go see a dentists"?

    Stereotyping is fun, isn't it?

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian