International Desk: In the hopes of communicating with any aliens out there, scientists will send messages to potentially-habitable planets next year.
Rather than waiting for extra terrestrials to contact Earth, experts have decided to pre-emptively send signals into space.
But not everyone is convinced by the plan, with experts including Professor Stephen Hawking, warning that if aliens discovered Earth, it could 'end life on Earth'.
Francisco-based non-profit organization METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence) International plans to start sending signals into space for extra terrestrials starting in 2018.
Douglas Vakoch, president of METI, said: 'If we want to start an exchange over the course of many generations, we want to learn and share information.'
Mr Vakoch spoke of the need to send more complex signals out into the universe last year in an interview with Forbes.
He said: 'It's too late to conceal ourselves in the universe, so we should decide how we want to represent ourselves.
'Extraterrestrials may be waiting for a clear indication from us that we're ready to start talking.'
METI plans to send its first radio transmission by the end of 2018, with an emphasis on messages that reveal basic mathematical and scientific concepts.
'It would be ideal to use a powerful transmitter like those used for planetary radar studies, such as Arecibo Observatory,' said Mr Vakoch.
But deciding on the content of the message has not been simple.
In a new interview with CNET, Mr Vakoch said: 'Some of the most prominent messages of the past have tried to cover everything.
'Rather than trying to communicate everything, we are focusing on saying a few things very clearly.
'For our first messages, we are emphasising the essentials of math and physics.'
Mr Vakoch said METI will be targeting nearby stars - especially those known to have planets in the habitable zones.
A number of such signals have already been sent, with perhaps the most famous being fired out by the Arecibo radio telescope in 1974.
Its binary digits revealed some details about our solar system, humans species and Earth's biochemistry.
Mr Vakoch says that we should include an instruction manual of sorts so that aliens can decode are messages more easily.
'There are a lot of hidden assumptions embedded in the ways we portray three-dimensional objects on two-dimensional surfaces,' said Mr Vakoch.
'Even if aliens use pictures, they may use a different set of conventions to map solid objects onto flat surfaces.'
Some scientists, however, believe we should refrain from contacting aliens at all in case they are hostile.
Lucianne Walkowicz, an astrophysicist at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, told NBC News earlier this year that making contact could be catastrophic for the human race.
'There's a possibility that if we actively message, with the intention of getting the attention of an intelligent civilisation, that the civilisation we contact would not necessarily have our best interests in mind,' she said.
'On the other hand, there might be great benefits.
'It could be something that ends life on Earth, and it might be something that accelerates the ability to live quality lives on Earth.
Professor Stephen Hawking believes if aliens discovered Earth, they are likely to want to conquer and colonize the planet.
'If aliens visit us, the outcome could be much like when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans,' he said in an interview.
Source: The Mail
risingbd/Sept 15, 2017/Mukul