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Arecibo message decoded: Google doodle celebrates anniversary of first interstellar radio message

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Arecibo message decoded: Google doodle celebrates anniversary of first interstellar radio message :The Arecibo Message, sent from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico in 1974, was a three-minute message meant to be decipherable by extraterrestrial beings.

Arecibo message decoded: Google doodle celebrates anniversary of first interstellar radio message
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Google is celebrating the 44th anniversary of the Arecibo message, humankind’s first interstellar radio message sent by researchers, with a doodle.

What is the Arecibo message?

Arecibo message decoded: Google doodle celebrates anniversary of first interstellar radio message
credit by image www.indiatoday.in 

The Arecibo message, sent from the Arecibo Observatory by a group of scientists in Puerto Rico in 1974, was a three-minute message of exactly 1,679 binary digits, arranged into 73 lines of 23 characters per line (these are both prime numbers and may help the aliens decode the message).

Written with the assistance of Carl Sagan, the message itself could be arranged in a rectangular grid of 0s and 1s to form a pictograph representing some fundamental facts of mathematics, human DNA, planet earth’s place in the solar system, and a picture of a human-like figure as well as an image of the telescope itself.

The Arecibo Message was aimed towards the globular star cluster Messier 13, 25,000 light years away, in an attempt to contact extraterrestrial intelligence.

Arecibo message decoded: Google doodle celebrates anniversary of first interstellar radio message

The broadcast was particularly powerful because it used Arecibo’s megawatt transmitter attached to its 305-meter antenna. The latter concentrates the transmitter energy by beaming it into a very small patch of sky.

What was the motive behind sending the message?

This historic transmission was intended to demonstrate the capabilities of Arecibo’s recently upgraded radio telescope, whose 1000-foot-diameter dish made it the largest and most powerful in the world at the time.

Arecibo message decoded: Google doodle celebrates anniversary of first interstellar radio message
credit by image www.indiatoday.in

“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.

Nevertheless, some of those present were moved to tears.

Arecibo message decoded: Google doodle celebrates anniversary of first interstellar radio message

The message was devised by a team of researchers from Cornell University led by Dr Frank Drake – the astronomer and astrophysicist responsible for the Drake Equation.

“What could we do that would be spectacular?” Drake recalled thinking. “We could send a message!”

Drake Equation

A means of estimating the number of planets hosting extraterrestrial life within the Milky Way galaxy.

Arecibo message decoded: Google doodle celebrates anniversary of first interstellar radio message
credit by image www.indiatoday.in

In how many years will the Arecibo message reach?

Since the Arecibo Message will take roughly 25,000 years to reach its intended destination (a group of 300,000 stars in the constellation Hercules, known as M13), humankind will have to wait a long time for an answer, Google explained.

But, how long?

In the 44 years since it was first transmitted, the message has travelled only 259 trillion miles, only a tiny fraction of the 146,965,638,531,210,240 or so miles to its final destination. During that same time, our understanding of the cosmos has advanced by leaps and bounds, raising hopes that someone may be out there, listening.

Arecibo message decoded: Google doodle celebrates anniversary of first interstellar radio message

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