Send a Tweet to our Alien Friends on Gliese 581 D

by Nancy Atkinson on August 18, 2009

An artist’s impression of Gliese 581d, an exoplanet about 20.3 light-years away from Earth, in the constellation Libra.

An artist’s impression of Gliese 581d, an exoplanet about 20.3 light-years away from Earth, in the constellation Libra.

If you’ve ever wanted to communicate with aliens, here’s your chance. Cosmos Magazine is offering the chance to send a message to another planet, Gliese 581 d. This exoplanet is about 20.3 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Libra, and some have said if life is elsewhere in the Universe, this is the mostly likely place that we currently know about. It was first discovered in 2007, and astronomers say this planet is well within the habitable zone around its star, where liquid water oceans could exist. Cosmos is collecting short, 160 character messages to be transmitted out to the vicinity of Gliese 581 d with the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex in Tidbinbilla, Australia. Cosmos says it will take about 20 years for the message to reach its destination, and admits there is no guarantee of a response. If interested, check out Cosmos’ “Hello From Earth” webpage. Hurry, as the deadline is 5pm Monday August 24, 2009 Sydney time (07:00 GMT Monday 24 August 2009).

This is Cosmos’ way of celebrating the IYA and National Science Week in Australia. However, we’ve had lively discussions here on before UT about if we are sending too much information out into the cosmos. What do you think?

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Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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