Arecibo Message: 1st International radio message to space

There was a radio message which was sent into space in 1974. It was known as Arecibo Message. Do you know about it? What does it contain? Why it was sent? What is the Importance of Arecibo message etc? Let us find out!
Updated: Mar 16, 2020 17:35 IST
What is Arecibo message?
What is Arecibo message?

Do you know when the first interstellar radio message was sent into space and why? 

What is the Arecibo message?

Arecibo message is a humankind's first interstellar radio message of three-minute which was sent from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The three-minute message is of exactly 1,679 binary digits.

Why was Arecibo message sent into space?

To explain basic information about humanity and earth to extra terrestrial beings Arecibo message was sent in the form of binary digits. Also, to demonstrate the power of the Arecibo radio telescope Scientists had sent the message of frequency modulated radio waves to a cluster of stars about 25,000 light-years away.

The Universe: Stars, Sun, a nutshell

Do you know that Arecibo radio telescope was the largest and most powerful in the world at that time?

The broadcast was particularly powerful because it used Arecibo's megawatt transmitter attached to its 305-meter antenna. The transmission consisted of a simple, pictorial, message, aimed at our putative cosmic companions in the globular star cluster M13. As discussed above this cluster was roughly 25,000 light-years away from us and was near the edge of the Milky Way galaxy and approximately contains a third of million stars.

When was Arecibo message sent to space?

It was sent on 16 November, 1974 from Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

What does Arecibo message contain?

The message is a series of 1,679 bits that were arranged into 73 lines of 23 characters per line. Let us tell you that these are both prime numbers, and may help the aliens decode the message. It was sent to a cluster of stars 25,000 light-years away from the earth.

Below, is the actual radio message figure sent into space?

The actual Arecibo message

There are seven parts in the message from top to down which can show the numbers one to 10, atomic numbers of elements including hydrogen and oxygen, the formulas for the sugars and bases in the nucleotides of DNA, a graphic of the DNA double helix structure, a figure of a human and the population of the earth at the time, a graph of the solar system and a graph of the telescope.

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Who had sent Arecibo message into space?

According to Donald Campbell, Cornell University professor of the university, who was a research associate at the Arecibo Observatory at that time, said: "It was strictly a symbolic event, to show that we could do it".

Let us tell you that the message was devised by a team of researchers from Cornell University led by Dr. Frank Drake was the astronomer and astrophysicist responsible for the Drake Equation, a means of estimating the number of planets hosting extraterrestrial life within the Milky Way galaxy.

No doubt humankind will have to wait a long time for an answer. On 16 November 2018 is the 44 years since it was first transmitted. The message has travelled only 259 trillion miles which is only a tiny fraction of the 146,965,638,531,210,240 or so miles to its final destination.

At the same time, several developments and studies for the cosmos have been done. Therefore,  still hopes are there that someone may be out there, listening and will reply.


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