How Should Earth Respond to an Alien Message?

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How would you respond if we received a message from intelligent life in outer space? The SETI Institute would like to know. Their "Earth Speaks" project is soliciting messages (text, sounds and images), but rather than picking a favorite or favorites, the messages are tagged to summarize the content. SETI researchers will then study the tags to capture themes that can then be used when creating a message, should we be contacted by alien life or decide to send intentional messages into outer space.

This message, one of my favorites, was tagged with "caution," "hope" and "silly":

Approach us with caution. New things may frighten us and in becoming frightened, we may attack if we feel that is the safest immediate reaction. I send this warning because in the end, We would like to be friends. We will need your help to achieve this. Also, don't kidnap us and poke us. We hate that.

What would your message say? And should we start blaring a message into space or wait until we’re contacted first?

About Sarah Zielinski
Sarah Zielinski

Sarah Zielinski is an award-winning science writer and editor. She is a contributing writer in science for and blogs at Wild Things, which appears on Science News.

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