Earth’s message for “extraterrestrial civilizations” has been updated: What does it say?

Scientists have added information to the original 1974 message created by scientist Carl Sagan and SETI pioneer Frank Drake.


An international team of researchers has developed an updated binary-coded message for transmission to extraterrestrial intelligences in our Milky Way galaxy .

Called ‘Beacon in the Galaxy’, the proposed message includes basic mathematical and physical concepts to establish a universal means of communication followed by information on the biochemical composition of life on Earth , the position of the Solar System in the Milky Way with time relative to known globular clusters, as well as digitized representations of the Solar System and the planet’s surface.

The message, featured on the arXiv online repository , concludes with digitized images of the human form, along with an invitation for any receiving intelligence to respond.

Specifies the calculation of the optimal time during a given calendar year for potential future transmission from the Five Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope ( FAST ) in China and the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array in Northern California to a selected region of the Milky Way than proposed as where life is most likely to have developed.

Legacy of the original message

The authors of the updated message, led by Jonathan Jiang of JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) consider that these “new and powerful beacons”, the successors of the Arecibo radio telescope that transmitted the 1974 message on which this expanded communication is based in part , “can carry Arecibo’s legacy into the 21st century with this equally well-constructed communication from Earth ‘s technological civilization .”

In the original message, the numbers from 1 to 10, the atomic values ​​of the key elements, a representation of DNA, a human figure, a diagram of the Solar System and a rudimentary representation of the Arecibo Radio Telescope were transmitted.