Google marks 44th anniversary of the Arecibo message

Google marks 44th anniversary of the Arecibo message

On this day in 1974, mankind made its first attempt to phone ET. The Arecibo message, as it was called, was a 3-minute "phone call" to the universe, or rather just Messier 13, the Hercules Globular Cluster, in an attempt to make contact with alien intelligence.

The message was created to mark the remodelling of the famous Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. It consisted of 1,679 binary digits with a total size of a mere 210 bytes, arranged in a rectangular formation of 73 rows by 23 columns. The transmission took 3 minutes to complete.

The message consisted of 7 parts, written by Frank Drake during his time at Cornell University. The seven parts were as such:

1. The numbers 1-10 in white

2. The atomic numbers of the constituents of the DNA, hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon, oxygen and phosphorous in purple

3. The formulae for the sugars and nucleotides in the DNA in green

4. The double helix structure of the DNA and the number of nucleotides in one strand in blue and white

5. A graphical representation of a human, the physical height of an average human and the total population of the Earth as of 1974 in red, blue/white and white respectively

6. A graphic of our Solar system and the planet from which the message came in yellow, and

7. A graphic of the Arecibo radio telescope and the physical diameter of the transmitting antenna dish in purple, white and blue

Being transmitted to a cluster some 25,000 light years away, the message still has a long, long way to go before it reaches its destination, and while it is now seen as a mark of human technological advancement as opposed to a phone call, the question remains: Is there an alien intelligence on the other side who will receive this message after it has completed its long journey through the cosmos, and will ET answer the phone?