Communicating Across the Cosmos, Part 3: Bridging the Vast Gulf

The cover of the phonograph record on the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft, which contains an interstellar message encoded on a phonographic record.  The encoded instructions attempt to explain to extraterrestrials how to play the record.  Credit: NASA JPL

The cover of the phonograph record on the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft, which contains an interstellar message encoded on a phonographic record. The encoded instructions attempt to explain to extraterrestrials how to play the record, and the location of the Earth. Credit: NASA JPL

If extraterrestrial civilizations exist, the nearest is probably at least hundreds or thousands of light years away. Still, the greatest gulf that we will have to bridge to communicate with extraterrestrials is not such distances, but the gulf between human and alien minds.

In mid-November, the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California sponsored an academic conference on interstellar communication, ‘Communicating across the Cosmos‘. The conference drew 17 speakers from a variety of disciplines, including linguistics, anthropology, archeology, mathematics, cognitive science, radio astronomy, and art. In this installment we will explore some of the formidable difficulties that humans and extraterrestrials might face in constructing mutually comprehensible interstellar messages.(…)
Read the rest of Communicating Across the Cosmos, Part 3: Bridging the Vast Gulf (1,504 words)


© Paul Patton for Universe Today, 2014. |
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