And now our Feature Presentation

I'm getting worried because the real world is starting to mirror some of my crazed ramblings. A while ago I wrote some silly first contact messages that we might receive from alien civilizations. It seems that number three on that list might not be far off.

Going by a news release I received this evening, Twentieth Century Fox plan to broadcast the feature film The Day the Earth Stood Still into space this Friday. This follows a series of similar publicity stunts this year that included NASA transmitting The Beatles to Polaris and a crisp (chip if you're American) manufacturer sending an advert to 47 Ursa Major. Both of these made me uncomfortable because I have concerns about shouting in the jungle even if the music is good.

Fox will be using a rather tiny 5 metre dish to transmit the film. Although small, the dish goes by the impressive sounding Deep Space Communications Network which is suspiciously similar to NASA's much better Deep Space Network. The limited power of their signal will get massively diluted over a huge volume of space centred on the Alpha Centauri system. Rather than shouting in the jungle this will be more like an ant tapping it's foot next to jet liner engine. It is mostly a rather inexpensive gimic.

All this does raise a question in my mind. Will FACT and the MPAA start transmitting law suits towards unsuspecting exoplanets? I expect the first manned mission of lawyers is already in training.

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Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Wednesday 10th Dec 2008 (00:41 GMT) | Permalink
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