> Dear Editor.
We are proud to inform you that the G.I.R.A. (Grupo Independente de Radio
Astrônomos)[Independent Radio Astronomers Group] team is preparing for
launching the first private extraterrestrial communication initiative,
nicknamed Extracom. The project, which had its developments started back in
1989, looks forward to establish a private level communication channel,
operating on a peaceful and friendly purpose in a journalistic approach,
containing a review of the planet Earth as we see it, aiming the potential
audience scattered in the range of 2,000 light-years.
Our standpoint is that the extraterrestrial communication should be
performed by civilian individual enterprise, whenever it&rsquo;s possible.
Is our opinion that it is the only way to assure that the fundamentals of
the freedoms of speech and information will extend to the farthest limits
of the human experience. We do not accept the control of the
extraterrestrial communications by governmental agencies, academic systems
and big business. We are coming in to change the scene and turn earthly
hard information widely available to the extraterrestrial public. Our
objective is to stand above Earth&rsquo;s electronic noise by means of a
powerful, concentrated, radio emission and to provide organized independent
information about the world society, in the shape of a "wrap-up" of the
planet, promoting the discovery of the Earth to those surrounding
intelligent beings that may have not yet discovered us. We assume that the
planet Earth is in peril and we need help. We think that the acquaintance
of our drama - human degradation, political abuses, nuclear weaponry,
environmental threats - by the neighbors and the resultant experience
exchange increases our chances of being successful in the solution of some
of those problems.
The project is being conducted by a group of amateur astronomers at Bauru,
Brazil, and is based on the use of cheap "labor intensive" technology and
creative software developed by the group, in which ranks good-natured
engineers, journalists, small-scale businessmen and small land owners, all
friends, all independent thinkers, and not too many.
The geographic location of the transmitting facility in South America, the
detailed technical profile and the documentation are to be released to the
public after the beginning of the transmissions. The basic hardware to be
used comprises a ground bulldozer-carved 60-meter concrete-framed
non-steerable parabolic antenna, a private steam-powered energy generation
facility, re-engineered optimized radio systems and related equipment and
The transmissions, employing the combined digital modulation of two signal
parameters (amplitude and polarity) will be taken into effect (initially
&ndash; improvements are expected) through a narrow band (10 Hz bandwidth),
4.5 Gw, 21 cm frequency signal, making it receivable by an equal antenna at
a distance over 1500 light years. Eventual gravitational lensing, that we
expect to occur in some directions, could boost the signal to distances
several times greater. Due to the location of the apparatus of transmission
&ndash; the low latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere &ndash; we will be
able to send our signal right through the most star-populated zone in the
galaxy. Indeed, eventually we will be transmitting almost directly to the
center of the galaxy itself, what increases substantially our chances of
finding an audience. The fixed condition of the antenna, what makes it
dependent on the Earth&rsquo;s rotation, causes the dish to scan
continuously the sky around the arc-seconds, not offering a good signal
"exposure time" for the Receiver in the vast distances. For this reason,
the Receiver wills posses only a fragment of the total information at a
time. Actually the Receivers would perceive the signal as a brief "glare".
In this circumstance the signal&rsquo;s efficiency is measured by the
amount of information it can deploy in the lesser period of time. To cope
with such shortcomings the group has developed hardware and software
capable of handling the transmission of binary bits at high speed. To
ensure that the message will not be missed a sequentially numbered "tag"
will be transmitted every 2 seconds, so that the Receivers can put the
pieces together. Once the Receivers get the tag and a fragment of the
information we rely on their curiosity and technical capabilities in
following up the rest of the message every subsequent "day". If we are
successful in delivering the message, and if the Receivers have
communicative disposition, the first reply are to arrive in 300 years,
according to estimates that indicate to be the civilizations separated by
an average 150 light-years.
The transmissions will carry highly compressed binary bit information
A. A 7 Mb executable program designed to display information. For the
running of this software the Receivers will have to build an operational
system, presumably not too difficult a task for any upper level
civilization. We assume that whatever they are made of, their physical
structure, they have to use some kind of machine, real or virtual (it is
also probable that they are the machines. It is even possible that they are
virtual machines. In these cases our job will be much more facilitated). We
think that the sending of the program is in itself a statement of the
cybernetic orientation of our race, and a sample of the abilities of the
average dominant organic units of the planet.
B. Pertinent Data-base storing information to be displayed
C. A- A 10,000-word "pictorial encyclopedic dictionary" &ndash; a
contextual language relating images, diagrams and mathematical expressions
of what we want to represent to matrices of bits, creating matrical words
and numbers, our Rosetta Stone - which features all the terms used within
the message (the chemical elements, universal constants, natural laws, etc)
including the software&rsquo;s source-code. This dictionary will enable
them to translate the text format files (a small library containing
excerpts from representative thinkers) we&rsquo;ll send and help in
building an operational system to run the software. All the selected
bibliography has been translated into this matrical dictionary
(unfortunately, with terrible consequences for their literary style). The
dictionary is independent of the software and is transmitted in the
beginning of the message. It is easily readable, provided that the
modulation of the signal withstands the travel across the light-years.
In other words, we want to upload a software (much alike the ordinary
CD-ROM&rsquo;s) to an unidentified user who does not even know what a
software is, and who will have to build some sort of machine to run it. We
know that we depend dramatically on their ingenuity, on their capacity of
filling the blanks (i.e. solving non-fatal logical inconsistencies).
Fortunately, a famous theorem indicates that if they are there to get the
message they will understand it.
The transfer of the full sequence from the first bit to the last, is
planned to last 10 to 12 minutes. After that the message starts over.
Without further support the group is capable of maintaining the project for
one year, allowing us for covering the 360 degrees of our zenithal sky
strip. Due to peculiarities of the motions of the celestial bodies involved
in the transmission process (the Sun, Earth and the Receivers&rsquo; stars
and planets) some of them will have up to two minutes of signal exposure
every 24 hours. They will take only 5-6 "days" to collect all the bits of
the message. The transmitting sessions will be interrupted during six
daylight hours, as the sun approaches maximum elevation. This will allow us
for maintenance servicing as well as saving energy and equipment. In so
doing the Sun&rsquo;s interference will also be reduced to the minimum.
Every session the message will be repeated circa 80 times.
While the stream of bits is being transferred we will inform, through the
signal&rsquo;s polarity modulation, and based upon a relatively simple
binary logic codification, the precise location of the sun relative to the
neighboring stars, the position of the planets Earth and Mars relative to
the sun and the nature and location of the transmitting device on the
surface of the planet Earth. This means that if by any reason they are not
capable of reading the dictionary or putting the software to run, they will
have at least the basic information about us, in a way that they can point
their signal back at us.
In the database to be displayed by the uploaded program we enclose the
spectrographic data of 100 stars of this sector of the galaxy so that the
receivers can pinpoint the Sun by comparison. We will provide the path of
the sun towards the apex, relative to the stars of this corner of the
galaxy and the orbital parameters of the planets of the solar system. We
will enclose instructions for building 2-d and 3-d diagrams depicting
humans (including full-fledged genitalia), the DNA molecule and our
reproduction process. Bitmaps will deliver views of the galaxy from this
spot in space, from Earth and Mars. We show Earth&rsquo;s and Man&rsquo;s
evolutionary timelines. We present a summary of our key scientific
achievements. The Selected bibliography will inform about the human
condition &ndash; reporting it is our prime goal - and its contradictions
by representative thinkers. Our personal report on the human condition will
expose how the majority of the intelligent creatures of the planet are kept
out of the system by the local powers. To make it simple to receive a
possible reply, we inform about our life span and the historical and
cultural trends of this era. We report the initial movements towards the
colonization of our solar system, specially focusing the fourth planet from
the star - we remark that the reply may also be sent to there, since we
expect that planet to be colonized by the time a message is sent back [in
fact we expect the Martians to be facing the prime fires of their
independence revolution, but this guess would be very difficult to explain
to the Receivers, so we&rsquo;ll skip it]. Our current condition is
featured with a thoroughgoing insight on computers and the Internet. We
explain that we, as individuals, will likely be no longer in position to
receive the reply, so they should include references about the origin of
the message for our descendants&rsquo; guidance. We also explain that our
descendants themselves are not guaranteed to be here by the time the reply
arrives, in account of the very same problems we denounce.
The problems of the human race must be denounced even though pathetically
by a handful of idealists down there at the fringes of the civilized world.
We hope that this initiative will help to introduce the humans to a new way
of envisioning the universe we live in and to make the people start to
consider some aspects of life that will have to be faced sooner or later.
It is time to join the great galactic community. It is time to speak freely
from Earth to the whole universe. It is time to enter the real big world.
We are going to make it through.
Spokesman for G.I.R.A.
H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D. Executive Director, The SETI League, Inc.
433 Liberty Street, PO Box 555, Little Ferry NJ 07643 USA
voice (201) 641-1770; fax (201) 641-1771; URL http://www.setileague.org/
email work: firstname.lastname@example.org; home: email@example.com
"We Know We're Not Alone!"