November 16 2018 marks 44 years since researchers sent humankind’s first interstellar radio message – an achievement Google the Tech giant is celebrating with a Google Doodle.
Arecibo message is an interstellar message which is sent to a cluster of star in the space with an aim that the extraterrestrial intelligence may receive and respond to it.
Google explained, “Since the Arecibo Message will take roughy 25,000 years to reach its intended destination (a group of 300,000 stars in the constellation Hercules known as M13), mankind will have to wait a long time for an answer. How long?
The Arecibo Message, sent from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico in 1974, is a three-minute message of exactly 1,679 binary digits – which, if arranged in a specific way, can explain basic information about humanity and earth to extraterrestrial beings.
Scientists sent the message via frequency modulated radio waves to a cluster of stars 25,000 light years away to demonstrate the power of the Arecibo radio telescope, which was the largest and most powerful in the world at the time.
In the 44 years since it was first transmitted, the message has traveled only 259 trillion miles, only a tiny fraction of the 146,965,638,531,210,240 or so miles to its final destination.”
This historic transmission was intended to demonstrate the capabilities of Arecibo’s recently upgraded radio telescope, whose 1000-foot-diameter dish made it the largest and most powerful in the world at the time. “It was strictly a symbolic event, to show that we could do it,” said Donald Campbell, Cornell University professor of astronomy, who was a research associate at the Arecibo Observatory at the time. Nevertheless some of those present were moved to tears as researchers contemplated their own existence and knowledge of planets and solar systems.
Written with the assistance of Carl Sagan, the message itself could be arranged in a rectangular grid of 0s and 1s to form a pictograph representing some fundamental facts of mathe matics, human DNA, planet earth’s place in the solar system,and a picture of a human-like figure as well as an image of the telescope itself.
The hope is that, in many thousands of years, it may reach another living being.
What is a Google Doodle?
In 1998, the search engine founders Larry and Sergey drew a stick figure behind the second ‘o’ of Google as a message to show that they were out of office at the Burning Man festival and with that, Google Doodles were born.
The company decided that they should decorate the logo to mark cultural moments and it soon became clear that users really enjoyed the change to the Google homepage.
In that same year, a turkey was added to Thanksgiving and two pumpkins appeared as the ‘o’s for Halloween the following year.
Now, there is a full team of doodlers, illustrators, graphic designers, animators and classically trained artists who help create what you see on those days.
Among the Doodles published in 2018 were ones commemorating cartographer Abraham Ortelius, Egyptian actor Omar Sharif and St Patrick’s Day.
And of course there was a whole series for the football World Cup in Russia.
Earlier in the year, the search giant celebrated the Paralympics in 2018 in Pyeongchang with an animated design celebrating each of the sports the winter Paralympians competed in.