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 Post subject: Arecibo Message
PostPosted: February 21st, 2012, 7:34 pm 

Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Posts: 4193
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
I don’t know why Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell chose the Arecibo Message as Sunday’s APOD. At first I thought it was the anniversary but that’s in the fall.

The idea for how to send the Message was illustrated with Drake’s Cryptogram, which with Frank Drake tested his fellow participants at the Green Bank Conference of 1961. Although only one person, Bernard Oliver, “got it” the same encoding (relying on an “aha” moment relating to prime numbers) was used for the Arecibo Message. The Message was transmitted toward the Hercules Cluster on 16 November 1974.

I’ve always had a soft spot for this graphic, ever since seeing it in a book as a kid. Just think—the Message has already gotten 0.0015% of the way there! Of course, since by it’s very nature it requires the use of every bit, just the loss of one or two bits would make the Message gibberish.

The BRAS library contains the wonderful Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, a collection of goings-on at an NRAO workshop in May 1985. The workshop honored the twenty-fifth anniversary of Project Ozma. The participants included Jill Tartar, Kent Cullers and Bernard Oliver.

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