This is not an alien signal. This is just a test.

In the 1997 film Contact, Jodie Foster played Ellie Arroway, an astronomer who detects an alien radio signal from outer space. Eventually, the fictional Dr. Arroway embarks on a hyperspace journey to communicate with aliens in the form of her late father.

Now it’s your turn to play Ms. Foster.

In a performance that is both interstellar performance art and a dress rehearsal for an event that astronomers hope will one day take place, coded radio messages from Mars will beam to radio telescopes on Earth on Wednesday.

But this is just a test.

Astronomers at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, said receipt of the signal was designed to trigger a worldwide game of deciphering and decoding. A form of interstellar radio signal.anyone can continue A Sign in Space, a website It will host commentary, speculation and weekly workshops on what all this might mean.

In half a century of anxious listening, radio astronomers have yet to hear an extraterrestrial signal from another civilization, be it intentionally or not. But they say there are only about 200 billion stars left in the Milky Way for life to comb through.

The message to be used in Wednesday’s test was designed by a team led by Daniela DePaulis, a media artist and former modern dancer who is also a ham radio operator .She is an artist-in-residence at the SETI Institute and the Green Bank Observatory, home to the giant antenna operated by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Greenbank, West Virginia Ms. de Paulis’ work is centered around space, and no one will know what her message is saying until it is deciphered.

if you can.

In 1974, frank drakethe father of SETI, designed a message Launched into space by something that no longer exists radio antenna. It consists of 1,679 zeros and ones. When arranged in rows and columns, it forms pictures of stick figures, DNA helixes, numbers, and more. Dr. Drake’s colleagues at Cornell, including famed alien propagator Carl Sagan, were unable to fully decipher it.

Wednesday’s event will start from ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, the European Space Agency’s robotic explorer orbiting Mars. The spacecraft will send a coded message at 3 p.m. ET. In a quarter of an hour, the signal will reach Earth, where three telescopes will listen for it: the Allen Telescope Array at the SETI Institute in Northern California; the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia; and the Medicina Radio Astronomy Observatory near Bologna, Italy.

Teams at each observatory will process the signals and then share them on the experiment’s website. Then all Earthlings can have it.

“Throughout history, humans have sought meaning in powerful and transformative phenomena,” Ms. DePaulis said in a SETI Institute news release. “Receiving a message from an alien civilization will be a profoundly transformative experience for all of humanity.”

Whether Ms. DePaulis’ experiment on Wednesday will be transformative remains to be seen. But it won’t be the only event in the coming days devoted to studying things that may or may not be from outside this world.

With news in recent years, The Pentagon has been investigating reports of UFOs, NASA appoints a committee Bringing scientific standards to the study of what the government prefers to call Unidentified Anomalies, or UAPs

The space agency plans to hold a public meeting on May 31 to discuss the results so far.

Have an otherworldly week.

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