In the history of very bad ideas, telling alien civilisations how to find planet Earth is generally regarded as up there with Covid or any TV show starring the Kardashians.
Hollywood has given us decades worth of warnings about alien monsters attacking earth and destroying famous landmarks before American movie stars in noisy jets destroy them and restore the peace. You’d think by now we would get the message- aliens don’t like us.
Yet in the real world, here we are, with scientists sending out messages to possible alien civilisations, with directions to help them find earth.
Given we have no idea what’s out there, it’s like standing outside your home on a darkened street at night and, using a megaphone, loudly announcing to burglars that the property you have just lit up has no security, no defence mechanisms worth the name and the guard cat does not bite. Thus it’s an open home for an invasion.
A news article recently reported that scientists proposed to use a huge transmission beacon device aimed at the stars to essentially wave at any aliens who might idly wonder what’s on that small blue planet where the inhabitants spend most of their time trying to wipe one another out with global pandemics or wars or fixated on mindless TV shows starring airhead celebrities.
Either way, it must be blindingly obvious to the aliens that there’s not a high level of IQ here, thus we are ripe for colonising or worse, somewhere for aliens to have a holiday home.
The proposed message we are sending into the ether is called “The Beacon in the Galaxy” (BITG), which really sounds like a bad 1950s science fiction movie, which incidentally could well describe the whole hare-brained scheme to invite aliens here in the first place.
According to a media report, the scientists have not finally decided whether they will send the message into space. Still, if they do (and they really, really want to do it) it will be beamed from transmission sites in China and California. This just fills me with confidence. What could possibly go wrong?
The transmission will be targeted at a selected region in the Milky Way galaxy, which has been proposed as the most likely location for life to have developed.
The message was designed by a NASA-led team with international contributions. I do hope the Kardashians were not involved. The concept was to make the language as simple as possible so that the aliens could decode it. This means reality TV airheads were consulted.
I think they should have formed a focus group of over 60s people for our input, considering we have several decades worth of personal experience with very bad ideas and some have the scars to prove it.
Our simple advice would be “don’t do this”. But, who listens to us? Only later when aliens are ravaging the planet will people hear us saying “we told you so” from our nuclear bunkers.
If the scientists do send the message, it won’t actually be the first time this has happened. The first was sent back in 1974 from a radio telescope in Puerto Rico. It described the basic chemical makeup of the DNA molecule, as well as sketches of a human being and our solar system. It was targeted at a cluster of stars over 25,000 light years away.
Presumably, the message is still en route somewhere in the Australia Post delivery system.
Since then we have inflicted earth culture on the stars multiple times and now, somewhere out there in space, there’s even a Tesla car playing David Bowie music, thanks to Elon Musk’s ingenuity.
But apparently, we have not yet actually sent a map to help aliens find Earth.
If scientists ignore our concerns about broadcasting the position of our planet, perhaps the caution voiced more than a decade ago by the late Professor Stephen Hawking (regarded as the world’s greatest theoretical physicist) is worth repeating.
He said making contact with advanced alien life will probably not work out too well for humans.
“If aliens visit us, the outcome would be as much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans,” he said.
So, just in case any aliens on the Planet Zog are reading this, Earth is not a good place to colonise, especially the country called Australia. You’re welcome to America though, ideal for an intergalactic timeshare resort.