Google Celebrates 44th Anniversary of the Arecibo Message
Group of scientists gathered at the Arecibo Observatory amidst the tropical forests of Puerto Rico to humankind’s first attempt at communication with intelligent life beyond our own planet, Google said. Today Google is celebrating the 44th anniversary of the Arecibo Message with a doodle.
The message was broadcast into space a single time via frequency modulated radio waves at a ceremony to mark the remodeling of the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico on 16 November 1974. The message was aimed at the current location of M13 some 25,000 light years away because M13 was a large and close collection of stars that was available in the sky at the time and place of the ceremony. The message consisted of 1,679 binary digits, approximately 210 bytes, transmitted at a frequency of 2,380 MHz and modulated by shifting the frequency by 10 Hz, with a power of 450 kW. The “ones” and “zeros” were transmitted by frequency shifting at the rate of 10 bits per second. The total broadcast was less than three minutes.
This historic transmission was intended to demonstrate the capabilities of Arecibo’s recently upgraded radio telescope, whose 1000-foot-diameter dish made it the largest and most powerful in the world at the time, Google said.
“Since the Arecibo Message will take roughly 25,000 years to reach its intended destination (a group of 300,000 stars in the constellation Hercules known as M13), humankind will have to wait a long time for an answer. How long? In the 44 years since it was first transmitted, the message has traveled only 259 trillion miles, only a tiny fraction of the 146,965,638,531,210,240 or so miles to its final destination,” Google explained.