Earth will be back after these messages

It has finally come to this. We are now going to be sending advertising to alien solar systems.

Back at the start of February, a Spanish antenna that is part of NASA's Deep Space Network broadcast a Beatles song towards Polaris. That project has now opened the way for 'novel' advertising campaigns. The EISCAT radar in Northern Scandinavia is being hired by Doritos to broadcast an advert into space. This message will be directed at the 45.5 lightyear distant 47 Ursa Major. This star has two known planets but no known life.

Prof van Eyken, Director of EISCAT, is quoted describing the NASA message as "a 1,000 light year round trip," and therefore "it's highly unlikely it will ever be received by extra-terrestrials."

He then goes on to claim that "there is a much greater chance thatthe Doritos advert will potentially be seen by billions of aliens." Is there? Why? I don't understand why the light-travel-time makes things more or less likely. We don't have any evidence of alien life existing at either Polaris or 47 Ursa Minor so how is this quantified? Perhaps the marketing folk mis-quoted him for their own ends.

We now return you to our feature presentation.

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Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Friday 07th Mar 2008 (13:18 GMT) | Permalink
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