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Astronomers are waiting for a response to a message sent into space 40 years ago

Added Wed, 23/08/2023
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Дата публикации
Wed, 23/08/2023
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Astronomers are eagerly awaiting a possible response to a message sent into space 40 years ago. The message sent on August 15, 1983 by Stanford University professors Masaki Morimoto and Hisashi Hirabayashi consisted of 13 drawings illustrating the history of the development of life on Earth, our Solar System and the structure of DNA. Now a group of specialists led by Shinya Narusawa from Hyogo University (Japan) believes that the earliest response from intelligent life can come about now if it was heard by someone living near the star Altair.


Altair, located in the constellation Aquila at a distance of about 16.7 light-years, is the 12th brightest star in the night sky. Mr. Narusawa explains that a large number of exoplanets have been discovered since the 1990s, and it is quite possible that there is a planet capable of supporting life on Altair. This aroused the team's interest in finding an answer from intelligent beings near Altair, the Japanese edition writes The Asahi Shimbun


Tonight, at 22.00 local time (2.00 BST), the team will use the antenna of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in Saku (central Japan) to scan the sky for a possible response. For an hour, they will listen to the sky, hoping to detect a signal that could confirm the existence of extraterrestrial life.


The choice of August 22 for this event has a symbolic meaning. In Japan, Tanabata, also known as the "feast of the stars", is celebrated on July 7 according to the lunar calendar. Since Tanabata is celebrated today according to the lunar calendar, the team chose this date for their search.


The original message was sent as part of the celebration of the anniversary of the weekly comic Shonen Jump. Professor Morimoto, who played a crucial role in sending the message, died in 2010. Dr. Hirabayashi, author of books on intelligent extraterrestrial life, is currently a professor emeritus at JAXA.


While the expectation is growing, it is important to note that no exoplanets have been detected in Altair's orbit. Therefore, any response received will be an even bigger surprise. However, according to NASA observations, Altair rotates so fast that its middle part stretches, resembling a compressed beach ball.


Recently, the search for extraterrestrial life has not left the pages of newspapers: congressional hearings on unidentified anomalous phenomena (NAO), research by Harvard University professor Avi Loeb about mysterious meteorites found on the ocean floor. While some researchers are focused on finding evidence of the existence of extraterrestrials on Earth, experts around the world are also directing their attention to the stars in search of at least the slightest signs of extraterrestrial life.


Moreover, there is a possibility that signs of life can be detected within our own Solar System. The European Space Agency's Juice mission and NASA's Europa Clipper mission are heading to Jupiter's icy moons to search for traces of life. These missions are due to arrive in 2030. In addition, it was recently discovered that Saturn's icy moon Enceladus contains all the elements necessary for life in its subsurface oceans.


While waiting for the answer from Altair, the whole world held its breath in anticipation of what this discovery could mean for our understanding of the universe and the existence of extraterrestrial life.

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