back to article ATTENTION SETI scientists! It's TOO LATE: ALIENS will ATTACK in 2049

Today, top experts on aliens will debate one of the most pressing issues of modern times: to wit, should the human race send out signals with the aim of letting any possible extraterrestrial beings know we are here? But the brainboxes assembled in San Jose for the annual shindig of the American Association for the Advancement …

  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Alien

    Nah, we're safe

    Alien's receiving the webgasm will conclude that this could not possibly come from a sentient life form, and start looking for errors in their analysis software, or check they weren't getting stray signals from some passing Teaser. You know, rich kids with nothing better to do than finding planets like ours, landing next to some poor guy who nobody is ever going to believe and strut around wearing silly antennae making bepp-beep noises (childish really)

    1. VinceH Silver badge

      Re: Nah, we're safe

      On the other hand, they might not draw that conclusion, and things will proceed as Lewis suggests, and they'll make plans to attack. But, if we're lucky, due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the entire battle fleet will be swallowed by a small dog.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Nah, we're safe

        I seem to be having this tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle...

      2. MrT

        Small dogs...

        ... and cheese sandwiches are hereby banned from being outside the same pub coincidentally. Just to be sure.

    2. Timbo

      Re: Nah, we're safe

      I wonder if the Bebo people pointed this signal at where Gliese "was" (in the night sky at the time of the transmission)....or did they point it at where Gliese "would be" once the signal got there 20 years later ?

      I would hope for the latter, but even so, if the signal was sent on a narrow beam, the chances of any non-terrestrial picking it up, as the signal reached the Gliese system would be pretty remote. Chances are that they'd be listening in a different direction for signals from "more likely" sources of "alien" (to them) life.

      1. Richard Boyce
        Happy

        Re: Nah, we're safe

        I think we can relax. Alexander Zaitsev will have sensibly pocketed the cash from the idiots and laughed all the way to the bank.

    3. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Nah, we're safe

      >strut around wearing silly antennae making bepp-beep noises

      Basic level.

      Advanced level is inventing and running social media websites to emotionally scar the natives.

      (I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide if that includes El Reg.)

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Nah, we're safe

        I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide if that includes El Reg.

        Seeing that they show us an illustration of a solar system where a red sun makes a planet reflect white light, I would say it absolutely does!

        1. DropBear Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Nah, we're safe

          Well this just happens to be one of those planets that tends to absorb light an re-emit it at all sorts of different wavelengths - kinda like neon tubes and white LEDs do on a single wavelength. That red sun is just the "S" in LASER....

          1. JamesTQuirk

            Re: Nah, we're safe

            My GrandKid's introduced me to a 2014 movie, Battleship, by Hasbro, with pretty damm good special effects & All American Storyline, (even if japs help them save pearl harbour, this time, using mighty Mo, again), thats sucks like a chest wound .. BUT SFX are pretty good, Aliens are nasty but stupid, all from a message they sent to Gliese looking for contact ....

            Ps : hang to end of credits, there's another 5min bit right @ end, that happens in UK (somewhere) ....

            In 50 years climate change will be in full swing, may be fun to watch, and education, pity we couldn't learn, not to crap in own nest, So it could become the galactic tourist attraction, watchng the mess we have put ourselves in ...

    4. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Nah, we're safe

      Considering the content beamed at Gliese, its more likely that we will wake up one morning to find shiny new learning centers filled with space-age educational technology deposited all over the Earth, staffed by a series of concerned, earnest and patronizing alien teachers and vocational counselors.

      "Pupil Marketing Hack, I see you were able to dress yourself this morning! And oh look, it almost all matches!"

    5. Mage Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Nah, we're safe

      Also the transmission is unlikely to be receivable at 20 light years distance.

      You'd need a VERY big dish that just happened to be pointing straight at us. Where was Earth vs sun then? If the sun in line behind or in front, they'd only hear frying.

      1. dan1980

        Re: Nah, we're safe

        "they'd only hear frying."

        Inarguably and improvement.

    6. Wzrd1

      Re: Nah, we're safe

      Strange, that is precisely what my home GCU thought initially.

      After finding no fault in the software, it decided it was a liveware problem and investigated Earth.

      It found no intelligent life present in most capitol buildings on the planet.

      Earth has since been placed back into the control group.

  2. John H Woods Silver badge

    Death by Alien Cockup ...

    Extrapolating from our own society (I realize it's a sample of one, but it is also currently the entire known population) any visitors would be, at least initially, wide-eyed enthusiastic researchers rather than a full-on military invasion force. They'll probably end up obliterating us by accident, by bringing native pathogens with them (a sort of reverse War of the Worlds).

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Death by Alien Cockup ...

      "...native pathogens..."

      Most pathogens are species specific. Even flu, can struggle to jump the species barrier. More likely it would be a commensal or symbiont that turns out to adore squishy apes. "Yes, our thought processes are implemented via battling prions. Is that a problem?"

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Death by Alien Cockup ...

        "Most pathogens are species specific" -- Brewster's Angle Grinder

        True, but some organisms can transfer genetic material even between kingdoms (e.g. Agrobacterium tumefaciens). And pathogen is as pathogen does: the symbionts or commensals you mention would, if they harmed us, also be pathogens :-)

      2. Nigel 11

        Re: Death by Alien Cockup ...

        It's a complete unknown what happens when life-forms with different operating systems come into contact. All known life is based on DNA or RNA with 3-base codons, a small common set of useful amino-acids, and there is a large amount of other commonality in biochemical operation across most of our life.

        So when we meet ET with mutual good intentions, our bacteria and theirs will decide the issue. Possibilities from optimistic to pessimistic are (1) our bacteria can't eat them and vice versa, (2) our bacteria eat ETs but theirs can't eat us, (3) vice versa, and (4) mutual complete destruction. (There's also (5): our sort of life is near-universal, because its evolution is heavily favoured by the laws of physics and chemistry over any other possibility).

        I suspect the worst case is most likely. There are bacteria that can eat just about anything that is capable of yielding energy when it is dismantled, and our defences against being eaten are highly specific to the "operating system" that all Terran life shares.

        1. kellerr13

          Re: Death by Alien Cockup ...

          OR...

          Our bacteria and their's form an alliance and decide to eliminate both us and the aliens, thus revealing the true most intelligent life form in the universe.

          1. DrGoon

            Re: Death by Alien Cockup ...

            Unfortunately Gliesean 581c bacteria and Terran bacteria will probably decide to form a bacterial social media site, and, failing to gain momentum in the bacterial social media market will decide to eject a bacto guffpulse at HD 40307g.

        2. phil dude
          Coat

          Re: Death by Alien Cockup ...

          It has always seems a bit obvious (to me) that all of our molecular biological knowledge has been developed for our unique systems of life, and that if we were to meet an alien life would we recognise it?

          Our world was shaped by microbes so I think we should be careful about the containment of alien microbes - assuming we can identify them, that is.

          It would be truly fascinating if the current dependence on RNA as the catalytic replication mechanism, turns out to be "near" optimal of all possible chemical combinations. But in 12 billion years another ecosystem may have evolved at a different rate, and can therefore use different constituents.

          Let's hope there's intelligent life out there, because there's bugger all down here on Earth...

          P.

          1. JamesTQuirk

            Re: Death by Alien Cockup ...

            Maybe if they where Super Intelligent Coachroaches who had time travelled from our future, where we are extinct, to find out who left all the food & sugar about .....

      3. John Savard Silver badge

        Re: Death by Alien Cockup ...

        Robert Zubrin has used this as an argument against being overly concerned about back contamination from Mars. However, he overlooked one point. Of course we don't have to worry about Martian malaria contaminating the Earth. Martian mold or Martian mildew, however, could see us just as a big pile of sugars with no relevant immune defenses - and turn Earth's biota into green goo in a matter of weeks.

        Plus, on Earth, mold and mildew are relatively complicated organisms - symbiotic clusters of eukaryotic cells, I think. So they're not the ones that would have already made it to Earth on meteorites, putting paid to another one of his arguments.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Gimp

          Re: Death by Alien Cockup ...

          and turn Earth's biota into green goo in a matter of weeks

          These would still be complex organisms and would probably have Achilles Heels as high as Twin Towers.

          For example, "And don't forget: Hydrate every day, eat a banana and take an extra dose of Vitamin Cglide gel - a combination utterly toxic to all martian life forms! This message brought to you by Weyland-Yutani - Building Better Worlds, Today!"

    2. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: Death by Alien Cockup ...

      Extrapolation from our own society means that we are Doomed!

      We meet our alien cousins who are exactly like us, but blue and maybe 100 - 200 years more advanced than us (or they wouldn't make the flight) and they, like ourselves, probably don't mind shooting themselves some of those wilds for sport, or putting them in zoos and making lampshades from our hides.

  3. Chazmon

    prophetic writings

    Given the expected physical characteristics of life forms from those planets they would fit the type described in the Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham.

    I live near a river so naturally I am concerned.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: prophetic writings

      Kraken... sentient... Hmm... Opens "Nova Wars" on the kindle... I do not think I like that idea...

  4. codejunky Silver badge

    Interesting

    Why is the assumption that whatever is out there is hostile even if that is our default position. Why the assumption that whatever is out there can decode what we send? Why assume they are interested in the insane ramblings of those that most embarrass our race Why broadcast what we are made of and what we are like? Why overcomplicate a simple situation?

    Surely if we want to get the attention of something out there we need to broadcast a very simple pattern which wouldnt normally be found in nature. Keep it simple and with little chance of offence or our disadvantage

    1. Little Mouse

      Re: Interesting

      we need to broadcast a very simple pattern which wouldn't normally be found in nature... with little chance of offence

      I don't think that beaming them Radio 1 is going to make matters any better.

    2. Eponymous Cowherd

      Re: Interesting

      Well, the theory is that any race that has survived long enough to develop interstellar travel will have outgrown petty vices like war, genocide, galactic domination, that sort of thing.

      Either that, or they have exterminated all opposition and are looking for their next "challenge"....

      Not that we'd be much of a challenge to a race of highly advanced, power hungry, genocidal super-strong beings bent on galactic domination.

    3. 's water music Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Interesting

      Surely if we want to get the attention of something out there we need to broadcast a very simple pattern which wouldnt normally be found in nature. Keep it simple and with little chance of offence or our disadvantage

      That's what the race that built the pulsars thought. They must be kicking themselves now.

    4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Why is the assumption that whatever is out there is hostile

      Because of two simple facts :

      1) any race that has developed itself to be space-worthy has first had to establish itself as the ultimate predator in its own native environment. You can't build a spaceship if you fear being eaten by whatever tiger it is you have there.

      2) any race that is space-worthy has to have a bureaucracy which has to justify its existence in difficult economic times - thus an invasion will inevitably be a wonderful economic opportunity, for them.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Why is the assumption that whatever is out there is hostile

        Because of two simple facts

        I applaud this to-the-point analysis!

        This is entirely supported by bretty-low-IQ "economists" blogging in the "New X'ran Times". We need a war now! Think of the children.

        And being hawkish interstellar sure is going to bring in the votes and fatten the MIC. We are all Space Nazis now!

      2. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Why is the assumption that whatever is out there is hostile

        @ Pascal Monett

        These are the problems I have with the assumption of hostile. The first point assumes the same confrontational requirement that we have here. Why? If so how long have the predators been wiped out and so is there a need for such hostility? There are many possibilities where not being distracted by war could allow faster advancement for other reasons.

        The second point assumes the wasteful need of a bureaucracy which is employed in many societies here to slow things down and restrict. On a previous topic about economy and tax someone mentioned how wasteful and expensive war is. Mutual trade would surely be more profitable. Of course that assumes a race unlike ours which seems to look for offence or reason to be a victim.

  5. hplasm Silver badge
    Happy

    That's all very well-

    But what if they are more Blobominational than Krakenesque?

    They could pop up anywhere in the West- they may Already be Wobbling Amongst Us!!

  6. gizmo23

    +1 to Lewis for "guffblurt"

    1. Richard 120

      I nominate

      guffpulse for word of the year

  7. Michael Strorm

    2008: MySpace Odyssey

    Mr Bebo: "I've just sent a message inviting the inhabitants of Gisele 581 to invade earth... best publicity ever!"

    Astronomer: "Do you realise what a risk that is?"

    Mr Bebo: "That's a risk I'm willing to take... I for one welcome our sexy, sexy supermodel overlords. Shagged to death by hordes of six-foot tall blonde female aliens- what a way to go!"

    Astronomer: "WTF...." (Pause) "...wait, you do realise the planet's called Gliese 581, not Gisele?"

    Mr Bebo: "Oh, f***.... They're going to be green blobs that eat our brains, aren't they?"

    Astronomer: "They might be blue."

    Mr Bebo: "Damn... still, best publicity ever. Pretty sure it'll be worth it in six or seven years time when we've kicked MySpace's ass to become the dominant social network and that newfangled Facebook thing has sunk back into whatever obscurity it came from."

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: 2008: MySpace Odyssey

      @Michael Strorm

      Good news everybody, Michael Strorm makes Mr. Bebo sound like Zapp Brannigan. Is Gisele 581 a planet dominated by amazon woman looking for snu snu?

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: 2008: MySpace Odyssey

      the inhabitants of Gisele 581

      I can tell, the inhabitants of Gisele 581 are fierce. My doc gave me a lesson about STDs and I had to take antibiotics for two weeks.

  8. Nigel Brown

    Mostly harmless

    Apart from those who despise everyone but themselves.

  9. Christopher Lane
    Pirate

    With content like that...

    ...we deserve to die.

  10. Anonymous IV

    Principle

    Whatever happened to "security by obscurity"?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      It is a totally obsolete notion in the Age Of Internet.

      Except for those numpties who try to discover where any US Fleet is at any given moment. They then get the immense privilege of discovering the notions of Security and Obscurity in one fell swoop of an FBI van.

  11. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    aaaakkk! AAaakkkkk!

    What we don't want is to upset our neighbours.

    "Oi, you! Turn that fucking noise down. We have a 2 earth-centuries sleep/wake cycle and we're trying to get some shut eye.

    If you don't you will be the green and blue ball heading to the big orange pocket."

  12. JDX Gold badge

    We have senses. Smell, Taste, Sight and Touch. Without any of these things, we wouldn't live.

    It's OK, the aliens will create a biological weapon which removes our sense of smell and it will be decades before they realise that neither a sense of smell (or for that matter sight) is critical to life.

    Presumably the author of this statement didn't want to alert the aliens to our sense of hearing, so we'll probably hear them coming when they don't try to be quiet.

    1. Bunbury

      Re: We have senses. Smell, Taste, Sight and Touch. Without any of these things, we wouldn't live.

      Great, the earthlings are deaf! Let's invade!

      1. defiler Silver badge

        Re: We have senses. Smell, Taste, Sight and Touch. Without any of these things, we wouldn't live.

        WHAT??!

  13. Novex
    Alert

    That Bebo 'guffblurt' would have been enough to enrage even the simplest organism into evolving so they can stop it...

  14. Sludged

    to quote MP

    And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,

    'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.

  15. Bunbury

    You guys are just too positive...

    What's the betting that this provokes WOWSERS?!! THESE EARTH DUDES ARE JUST TOO WAY COOL!!! THIS IS SOOOOOO MUCH BETTER THAN CRAPPY GLIESELNET> LOLSTER

    Just wait until the Glieselese Cult of Bebo gets going. Woe to whoever pulled the plug on that site.

    1. Lord Raa

      Re: You guys are just too positive...

      Oh no, it's like what happened to the series finale of Single Female Lawyer again!

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: You guys are just too positive...

      Or, they have their equivalent of Zuck who will immediately realize that we're "dumb f*cks" for sending our personal information to them. He'll make a killing.

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: You guys are just too positive...

      WOWSERS

      Any civilization that stars building its economy on WOWSERS will not be a factor in the long run.

  16. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Boffin

    What about the 1974 Arecibo message?

    OK, it wasn't aimed at any star in particular, but still...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arecibo_message

    1. ravenviz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: What about the 1974 Arecibo message?

      Nice reminder, it is very interesting how we attempt to 'communicate' with aliens in ways that we think would be universally readable. The sad fact is that we will probably never find out.

      1. User McUser
        Alien

        Re: What about the 1974 Arecibo message?

        The sad fact is that we will probably never find out.

        But we already got a response to the Arecibo message!

        1. ravenviz Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: What about the 1974 Arecibo message?

          So even the aliens think Pluto is a planet!

        2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: What about the 1974 Arecibo message?

          "But we already got a response to the Arecibo message!"

          The Chilbolton face and the famous face on Mars (Below). Notice the resemblance?

          Not sure whether trolling or just "I Want To Believe" deluded.

      2. JamesTQuirk

        Re: What about the 1974 Arecibo message?

        Maybe they won't be so different ...

        Stranger than Fiction - The Real Flying Saucers ...

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUo68HFrc8Q

      3. JustWondering

        Re: What about the 1974 Arecibo message?

        Who says the reason we get no response is because aliens don't understand English? Maybe it is because they do. Talking louder and slower isn't going to help with that.

    2. Timbo

      Re: What about the 1974 Arecibo message?

      I checked out the wiki article on the Arecibo messsage...

      And according them, by the time the signal (that was sent in 1974) eventually arrives 25,000 years later, M13 won't be there any more:.

      [quote]In fact, the stars of M13, to which the message was aimed, will no longer be in that location when the message arrives.[/quote]

      Even if someone/something is there, the signal only lasted 3 minutes....and it was never repeated :(

      Mind you, there's been lots of other signals broadcast from Terra Firma ever since, even if they weren't of the same magnitude and certainly not of the same historic quality. !!.

      1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: What about the 1974 Arecibo message?

        Bloody interstellar couriers. Bet they left a card - "We tried to deliver a message but you were extinct, engaged in a long and (green) bloody interstellar war, at a mono-cellular evolutionary stage, down at the chemists."

  17. sabroni Silver badge
    Happy

    monumental collection of slack-jawed internet mumblings

    That's you that is.

    1. Bob Wheeler
      Happy

      Re: monumental collection of slack-jawed internet mumblings

      Sorry, are we talking about el Reg comments section now?

  18. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  19. Andy E
    Alien

    Won’t any alien who manages to decode and understand this transmission make the assumption that its from unintelligent pond scum? Having read some of the entries I know I would.

    Does that make me an alien?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Speaking as the parent of a gelatinous slime-oid blobomination I think that its too late to worry.

    Unless I'm mistaking an alien for a teenager.

  21. lidgaca

    Naw, we're safe ...

    There's no coherent information in the signal, it'll be dropped as noise.

  22. Boothy

    The day the World changed

    It was a cloudy day at the main SETI site on Gliese 581, the day the signal was discovered.

    Several hours were spent going over the data, and getting confirmation from other smaller sites, before any announcement was made. But it was confirmed, this was a real live signal from outside of our local system. This was not of our making, we are not alone!

    Analysis showed it to be coming from the direction of a rather nondescript, yellow star, around 20 light years away. We'd detected several gas giants around the system before, but had never been able to find anything that indicated life might exist there, at least not yet.

    The signal was completely different in structure to anything we used ourself, and so teams around the world set to, trying to decode it's mysteries.

    Speculation ran amok as to the contents of the signal, from a simple greeting, to designs for unlimited energy, to a declaration of war!

    Whatever the message, the World changed that day, religions began to collapsed as people denounced the existence of the gods in droves , local conflicts ended as peoples and nations absorbed the fact that we are not alone, that there were more important things to consider now.

    Nations started to work together, more so than any other time in history, eventually to become a single World government, with one focus, to understand the message and it's meaning.

    The signal became an obsession around the entire globe, almost a religion in its own right.

    A few years later, a breakthrough! Suddenly the signal was decoded.

    A live broadcast was planned across the entire planet, so that every single member of the now single world wide collective, could receive the wisdom from the star people, all at the same time.

    The world stood in silence, as the broadcast started.

    ....

    A short while later, almost in unison around the entire planet, "WTF is this @#&$ !!".

    ....

    ....

    1. ravenviz Silver badge

      Re: The day the World changed

      +1 for effort!

  23. Chris G Silver badge

    Googloid life form.

    The most horrifying possibility is if the dominant life form derives it's life giving energy from advertising.

    Based on our apparent preferences via Bebo we are going to be bombarded with interstellar dross for decades.

    The alternative is if they have achieved space travel , they have buggered off rapidly in the opposite direction.

    1. TitterYeNot

      Re: Googloid life form.

      "Based on our apparent preferences via Bebo we are going to be bombarded with interstellar dross for decades."

      <Opens Mailbox> - Jeeez, not more spam! FFS, I don't have a proboscis that I need making bigger, my skin doesn't need treatment to make it harder and greener, and for the last frikkin time I don't need Planet Protection Insurance!!!

  24. Just Enough
    Mushroom

    Justly deserved

    To be fair, having read those messages, any interstellar genocide visited upon us would be entirely justified. We started it, been bang out or order, and deserve a good slap.

  25. Jade

    Stellar Movement

    I'm hoping they pointed that Radioscope towards the location they expected Gliese 581 to be sitting at in 20 light years rather than wherever it happened to be when they sent the transmission...

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Stellar Movement

      @Jade the location they expected Gliese 581 to be sitting at in 20 light years

      20 light years is a measure of distance, not time. You mean "in 20 years".

  26. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    A Pertinent Impertinent Question which doesn't Necessarily Need to be Transparently Answered

    Are you still mobbed up with the MOD*, Lewis Page? And an Active Trojan in Civvy Street sussing out Super Natural Opportunities and Ab Fab Fabless Zeroday Vulnerability Exploits for Exploitation and Expansion? ....... and is El Reg into Greater IntelAIgent Games Plays ..... AI Grand Master of All that IT Surveys and Purveys .... or just content to muse on them?

    And, by the way, that is not a Friday 13th prank post and virtual wonk wank. It is a serious abiding question presenting future possibilities and capabilities beyond conventional compare.

    * Once KGB, always KGB, n'est ce pas?

  27. smartypants

    Solution to this threat

    Beam a plea for help in the other direction. Then wait for the two alien fleets to arrive somewhere beyond the moon and sit back as they fight it out.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Solution to this threat

      The Liberation of Earth

      Getting that Iraqi feel.

      This, then, is the story of our liberation. Suck air and grab clusters. Heigh-ho, here is the tale.

      August was the month, a Tuesday in August. These words are meaningless now, so far have we progressed; but many things known and discussed by our primitive ancestors, our unliberated, unreconstructed forefathers, are devoid of sense to our free minds. Still the tale must be told, with all of its incredible place-names and vanished points of reference.

      Why must it be told? Have any of you a better thing to do? We have had water and weeds and lie in a valley of gusts, So rest, relax and listen. And suck air, suck air.

      On a Tuesday in August, the ship appeared in the sky over France in a part of the world then known as Europe. Five miles long the ship was, and word has come down to us that it looked like an enormous silver cigar.

      The tale goes on to tell of the panic and consternation among our forefathers when the ship abruptly materialized in the summer-blue sky. How they ran, how they shouted, how they pointed!

      How they excitedly notified the United Nations, one of their chiefest institutions, that a strange metal craft of incredible size had materialized over their land. How they sent an order here to cause military aircraft to surround it with loaded weapons, gave instructions there for hastily grouped scientists, with signaling apparatus, to approach it with friendly gestures. How, under the great ship, men with cameras took pictures of it; men with typewriters wrote stories about it; and men with concessions sold models of it.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We should get our 419 experts onto this. We might end up suckering a few planets for everything they've got.

  29. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    ...any intelligent life resident on Gliese 581c is liable to have superhuman strength as the planet's surface gravity seems likely to be several times as strong as that of Earth

    Actually, the Gliese 581c residents are likely to be small and light, since supporting a human-size (or larger) body on a planet with strong gravity would be exceedingly difficult.

    So being swallowed by a small dog will be a quite likely outcome of their invasion.

  30. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Alien

    Incomming

    "Turn that fucking racket off. Sheesh!"

  31. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Are you listening, Silicon Valley?

    Seriously, you need to ask?

  32. briesmith

    From Ours to Yours

    Hello Gliese 581, pondscum calling from Earth, hello Gliese 581, pondscum calling from Earth...

  33. Adolph Clickbait
    Mushroom

    Finally

    Put all that Space invader and Galaxians training to good use!

  34. sisk Silver badge

    More likely

    They'll catch a chunk of the transmission with one of their radio telescopes before their planetary rotation moves the dish out of the reception area. Some alien astronomer will circle the data on a printout and write "Wow!" (in their language, of course) and then publish it. Unfortunately they'll neither get the full message nor have an understanding of Earth languages to make sense of it even if they do manage to decode it. Their entire civilization will then spend a year or two going "What the hell was that?" before it's forgotten by everyone except their nerds and conspiracy nuts. Hey, it could happen.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: More likely

      But we only captured the Wow signal's noise in some frequency bins, no actual signal.

      It could have been anything. Even Doc Brown trying new stuff in the institute next door.

      1. sisk Silver badge

        Re: More likely

        I'm aware of that. Personally I think it was most likely some astronomical phenomenon. An artificial signal at that power level seems extremely unlikely.

  35. John 104
    Coat

    A problem of scale...

    "they will surely do so at once under such a stimulus: in order to revenge themselves upon a civilisation which"

    But due to a miscalculation in scale, just as the fleet arrives it will be swallowed by a dog...

    Mine's the one with the bag of peanuts in the pocket...

  36. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Pirate

    And when they arrive

    Anonymous will say, "We should have expected them."

  37. JassMan Silver badge
    WTF?

    Has anyone ever done the maths?

    The outgoing signal from Arecibo may have been up 30TW EIRP but the transmitter was only 1AU away from a white noise source producing over 100YW EIRP. I dont know what the sig/noise is at whatever frequency they are planning to use but I find it hard to believe it is greater than unity.

    Also, even with the best optical telescopes, exoplanets can only be resolved if they are an order of magnitude further than 1AU away from their star. So the chances of someone sitting on an exoplanet being able to resolve a 2GHz(ish) radio signal and block the noise from the sun and filter out the CMB is less than the chance of seeing with the naked eye, a gnat taking a piss while sitting on the horizon at sunset.

  38. ST Silver badge
    Joke

    Gliese 581c - US Navy been there done that got the t-shirt

    See the movie Battleship. :-)

    1. Afernie

      Re: Gliese 581c - US Navy been there done that got the t-shirt

      131 minutes of my life I'll never get back.

  39. Conundrum1885

    Re. Re. Googloid life form

    Maybe the aliens have figured out how to travel FTL using folded space technology and sidestepping the requirement for a nearly absurd amount of energy by merely borrowing it from a small self contained bottle Universe generated using a scaled up version of the LHC.

    Once the journey is completed the system transfers the energy back in less than the Planck time so that the overall energy conservation is balanced again.

  40. Captain DaFt

    They might have the wrong end of the stick

    Everyone instantly assumes superior alien invaders.

    But... what if our chaotic, dog-eat-dog biosphere has actually produced the most dangerous being in the galaxy... Us?

    Other civilizations out there could well be agreeing among themselves:

    "SHH! keep quiet, don't answer their signal, otherwise they'll be off their planet in no time, and once they're loose, there'll be no stopping them!"

    See this thread: http://tmblr.co/Z1qxwr1TvaJw3

  41. Misky
    Paris Hilton

    The Reply...

    "Hay humunz, totes amazeballs tu here from yuz!!!!! Seez yuz soon Gliese 581 xox"

  42. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    We'll be perfectly safe...

    ...as long as the transmission includes an entire series of Celebrity Big Brother. "Xzyygj! Place ZZ9/ZAlpha under quarantine immediately. We cannot risk this terrible plague escaping into the rest of the galaxy!"

  43. mark jacobs
    Happy

    Ha ha ha!

    That was brilliant! Those poor aliens!

  44. JustWondering
    Meh

    Well ...

    The good news is that this broadcast would discourage casual visits. The bad news is that we might be treated like the festering pustule we appear to be.

    Perhaps in the future, a note from the parents should be required before renting a radar telescope.

  45. Stone Age Raccoon

    We're not exactly radio-silent

    Commercial radio broadcasting started in, what, the 1920s or so? Now, perhaps AM waves aren't as likely to leave the Earth's atmosphere (if I remember correctly, anyway), but FM started around the 1940s, I think. TV was first messed around with in the 1930s - apparently, the first TV broadcast strong enough to stray from Earth would have been Hitler's opening of the 1936 Olympics!

    We've been broadcasting our presence in a general way for, what, 80-100 years almost? So those signals are about 80 light years out from Earth now, in a big bubble that just gets noisier and noisier the closer to us you get. According to JPL's PlanetQuest site, there seems to be quite a lot of planets within that range.

    Also, I seem to remember that back in the 1980s or so - when SETI was still a US government thing - that directed signals WERE sent to some star or another or two. Of course, those messages wouldn't have been anything like modern Internet crap, but hey.

    Never mind the internet - we're already being judged on old 1950s and 60s sitcoms, and whatever movies they showed back then - I remember growing up on schlock B horror movies (Sir Graves Ghastly and the Creature Feature on Saturday afternoons) and, uh, Abbott and Costello, Blondie, Francis, and Laurel and Hardy movies (Sunday mornings, rotated). Oh, and the Three Stooges.

    I'm a participant of SETI@Home. No word of a reply to any of this yet, but .. it'll be interesting should one come, I'm sure.

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