Washington, May 15 (ANI): The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute is going to launch a project called 'Earth Speaks', which will collect messages online from people around the world, asking them about their questions to an alien civilization.
"Earth Speaks invites people to ponder the question, 'What would you say to an extraterrestrial civilization?'," said Thomas Pierson, Chief Executive Officer of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California.
"By submitting text messages, pictures, and sounds from across the globe, people from all walks of life will contribute to a dialogue about what humanity might say to intelligent beings on other worlds," he explained.
Now, people can submit their messages to Earth Speaks at http://messages.seti.org, where they also enter labels or "tags" to help researchers categorize the messages.
"By studying the tags used by many different people, we can capture the major themes that run through thousands of individual messages," said Dr. Douglas Vakoch, Director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute.
"That sets the stage for creating interstellar messages that begin to portray the breadth and depth of the human experience," he added.
"Earth Speaks uses technology of the twenty-first century to understand human aspirations around the globe in ways not possible before," said Dr. Jill Tarter, Director of SETI Research at the SETI Institute.
"This is a potentially a huge resource that can be explored to look for cultural universals," she added.
Questions about message content take on increased importance as the SETI Institute's Allen Telescope Array (ATA) begins a new phase of research with its galactic plane survey for radio signals from other civilizations.
As search technology becomes more powerful, the chances of detecting distant civilizations beyond Earth increase.
"The question of whether we should send intentional messages to other civilizations is too important to be answered hastily," said Pierson.
"Through Earth Speaks, the SETI Institute also hopes to foster an open and thoughtful debate about the pros and cons of sending messages to other worlds," he added.
"First impressions matter," said Vakoch. "The initial messages we send to an extraterrestrial civilization could set the tone for a conversation lasting hundreds or thousands of years," he added. (ANI)