is.anybody.out.there from z.a.r.k.o.s..c.r.y
4.sci.fi.orchestra.&.space.signals - recorded.2002.01.21
"Contact," "Star Trek," "Babylon 5," "Star Wars," "Alien" and the rest of the lot have one thing in common: they all deal with alien civilizations and their relationships to humans. Some of these futuristic fictions portray alien life as friendly, some as hostile. Most of the aliens are curiously "humanoid." Many of us dream of one day meeting up with a (friendly) alien race. Much could be learned and discovered about each other. What are we doing right now to make this happen?
Is there anybody out there?
The project analyses data from the world's biggest radio telescope at Arecibo in
Puerto Rico, piggybacking the long-running Serendip IV Seti programme. Each
night the telescope scans the sky for signals, dumping 35GB of data onto tape.
Because Arecibo does not have a high bandwidth internet connection, this tape is
sent by post to the University of California in Berkeley, where the data is
divided into 0.25MB blocks and sent out over the internet. Every five days for
about five minutes, the
Each work unit has been planned to represent about 24
hours of screensaver time on a 233MHz computer, but computers have been taking
an average of 39 hr 26 min to complete a work unit. Windows 95 machines have
averaged a time as slow as 64 hr 34 min. Pentium/Windows machines
The project is set to run for two years, after which
the sky above Arecibo will have been scanned three times. Wertheimer
puts the chance of finding an intelligent signal at "1% per decade", but knows
what message he would send in reply given a free choice. "Please send all your
music, literature, science and information about the other civilisations you've
been talking to," he says. "And also, please, send information on how to hook up
to the galactic internet."
Backgound of the composition: Ganymede's
Magnetosphere (see Wave image above):
Recorded by NASA's Galileo space probe, these sounds reveal the fact that the solar system's largest moon is also the only one known to possess a planet-like, self-generated magnetic cocoon called magnetosphere, which shields the moon from the magnetic influence of its giant parent body, Jupiter. The real sensation when Galileo first recorded the sound of this magnetosphere was a rhythmic signal embedded in the stream of noise. Some signal, which reminds of a theme from the Jupiter Symphony by W.A.Mozart. But tragedy followed by foot: John Walker , a Harvard student, got extremely nervous when he first listened to the signal. He inadvertently deleted the tape, before radio astronomers could make a backup copy. In later recordings from Galileo, this signal could not be detected anymore.
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