How to Talk with Aliens

Science Friday

The Earth has been leaking radiation for just over a century, when we ushered in the radio age and then when we brought in the era of television. And if any technologically advanced civilizations among the stars had a powerful antenna about the size of our solar system, they might be able to pick up a few of those diffuse signals from bygone eras.

But now some private citizens, scientists, and entrepreneurs are sending more focused messages through the cosmos, which could theoretically be intercepted by smaller antennae, essentially advertising the existence and location of Earth. Is it ethical to do that—or could it needlessly put humanity at risk?

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The editorial staff of ORBITER magazine humbly pursues life's Big Questions, illuminating the human condition and our place in the universe.