Lone Signal Project: Now You Can Tweet at Aliens?

(Photo : Reuters)

Do extraterrestrials read Twitter? The founders of Lone Signal, a New York-based startup, hope aliens will tune in to read text messages sent to space by inhabitants of Earth.

The company has launched a website where it will accept messages from Earthlings to be broadcast to a star system more than 17 light years away, CNN Money reports.

With one click you can sign up to enter a free message. Packs of four additional messages can be purchased for 99 cents.

Anyone can submit a Twitter-length message of 140 characters to the website and have it sent to the Jamesburg Earth Station, an enormous 10-story high satellite dish that occupies 160 acres in California's Carmel Valley.

The dish, built in 196, was built to support the Apollo 11 moon landing and has been used to receive signals from astronauts during subsequent missions to space.

Now it has a grander purpose: to beam messages from Earth to a red dwarf star called Gliese 526, located 17.6 light-years from Earth.

If all goes according to plan the messages will travel an unfathomable 106 trillion miles through space - and hopefully received by an alien intelligence.

The distance is vast but in outer space terms Gliese 526 is relatively close to Earth - and scientists say it's potentially inhabitable, to boot.

Don't worry if you don't speak Alienese. Lone Signal will beam your message in any Earth language as well as binary code, a digital representation of text and data that has a much better chance of being understood than "Hello" or even "Bonjour."

The effort has been dubbed METI: Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence. The name is a nod to SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, an ongoing project to scan the heavens for any signs or signals from extra.

But just how likely is it that aliens are out there, in the Gliese 526 system or elsewhere?

Pretty likely, says SETI.

 "Our current understanding of life's origin on Earth suggests that given a suitable environment and sufficient time, life will develop on other planets," reads a message on the organization's website.


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