Monday, January 25, 2010

Trust no one.

I'm grateful to my Facebook friend Ann Godridge for a tip about a New Scientist article covering the history of communication with extra-terrestrial beings.

Assuming the little green men to be interested in the humdrum carry-on that passes for daily life on Earth, we've been sending various messages out into space. Some of the communication has been the kind of thing you probably remember being reported on Blue Peter as a kid. Pictures, music, scientific proofs etc. I guess a whole load of noughts and ones too, because that's the kind of lingo those space people talk.

Other messages have, on the other hand, been a little more eccentric.

According to NS reporter Michael Marshall, there was once a research affiliate at MIT who had a rather unusual approach to intergalactic chat. As this is a family blog, I must spare you the detail, but the fellow in question thought it important for Mr Spock to hear sounds that revealed, shall we say, a rather intimate and carnal portrait of womankind. He started broadcasting them from Millstone Hill Radar (Earth) to Epsilon Eridani and Tau Ceti (Outer Space) in the mid-1980s. When the US Air Force got wind of the transmissions, they quickly shut down the project, but not before some rather embarrassing material - provided, bizarrely, by ballet dancers - had escaped the Earth's atmosphere.

It's difficult to know where to start with this extraordinary revelation. It sounds like the kind of experiment that a young David Duchovny might have been involved with. The presence of Special Agent Fox Mulder would certainly have explained some of the sounds that the dancers were making. And when a group of heavily-armed military personnel stepped in to stop the fun, it would be proof positive that they knew something we didn't. After all, why bother to close the project unless they thought that our sexy signals might be misinterpreted by ET?

The truth is out there. And it seems that often it's stranger than fiction.

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