# Message to the stars

Can you read this? We’re hoping that aliens can.

for details see:
antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap090712.html

What makes them think ET could read this? ET can speak English, you know.

The top part is three sides of an equation denoting the same numerical value separated by an equal sign. On the left side the number is indicated by squares, The middle is the same number in binary as the squares, and the right side is the same as the squares and binary but using a symbol to indicate the same number. Below that only the squares relate to the symbolic equivalence of the number. So there are 5 rows of squares, binary, and symbols to equate the same number. Then 2 rows of only squares and symbols. Below that only the symbolic equivalent of the above numbers are used to show prime numbers. The very bottom is the largest known prime number. Although since the release of this information into space I believe larger primes have been discovered using super computers.

The reason I know this… I’m an alien!

The bottom number has a symbol in it with no equivalent numerical value.
The bottom number is 23021377?1. There’s a question mark for the unknown symbol which has revealed it self as -. So the number is 2[sup]3021377[/sup]-1 which is a mersenne prime.

Did you really figure that out, or are you just messing with us?

It’s really easy to read once you know what your looking at. Each number is expressed three different ways, with dots, binary, and symbols. If you look at the symbols you can see the numbers they represent pretty easily.

no dots = 0000 = 0
. = 0001= 1
… = 0010 = 2
… = 0011 = 3
and so on

it shows the numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 with dots, binary, and symbol
Then it shows the numbers 10,11,12,14, 15, 20 with dots, and symbol
then it shows the prime numbers 2,3,5,7,11,13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, 53, 59, 61, 67, 71, 73, 79, 83, and 89

The bottom number 23021377?1 is clearly 2[sup]3021377[/sup] followed by a symbol with no corresponding numerical value, followed by one.

I’m not going to tell you how I figured out the unknown symbol was a minus symbol, but I will say this, the number was discovered in 1998, and combined with Euclid’s ancient result establishes as a corollary that 2[sup]3021367/sup is a perfect number. The 37th found so far. It’s 1,800,000 digits long.

The only symbol that has me stumped is the very top center symbol, still working on that.

Well, I’m impressed. And here I thought you skipped ahead to the solution page.

It puts me in mind of the cartoon of two aliens who have just landed on Earth. They’re standing outside their spaceship amid a crowd of curious humans. One alien has an “Alien to English” book in his hands. Reading from the book he says: “Take us to your stove” The other alien says to him, “Give me that book you idiot!” Makes me wonder if mathematical patterns would mean the same thing to an alien race from another planet as they do to us, considering not all humans (me included) would have any idea what they’re supposed to be. :shrug:

Well, I guess we’re only looking to connect with the best and brightest of aliens. If they can’t read binary or don’t know the significance of prime numbers, they’re simply not worth our time.

I’m sure you aren’t trying to be snobbish–truly, I don’t think you are, but it may be that the aliens that can read it might not be worth our time–morally and ethically speaking. Higher intelligence doesn’t automatically denote kindly intentions or understanding. There’s been some rather nasty people in history who were extremely bright. There’s no guarantee they’d be friendly or even interested in little old us, yah know?

where’s the fun in that

No, I’m not trying to be snobbish, just facetious.

On a serious note, I would say that you are absolutely correct that higher intelligence does not neccessarily correlate with an increased sense of morality. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants if the recipients of the message say “Hey, we just found a civilization we can exploit for our own gain! They gave us their coordinates and everything! This is going to be too easy…”

I know, I know, I took the easy way out… :o

Yes, it could be the Vulcan scenario–no harm no foul or it could be the Independence Day scenario–massive world-wide destruction!

Although, I heard (no pun intended) that our communications break down only one light year from Earth. If that’s true the whole thing is probably academic–unless they just happen to be cruising within the neighborhood.

No, it’s us doing our Horton Hears a Who imitation: "We are here! We are here! We are here! We are here! . . . "

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