Do aliens listen to our broadcasts?

Since the invention of radio more than a century ago, man has been broadcasting into space in the hope that any listening aliens could learn of our presence.

Yet, despite waves travelling a distance of 200 light years in all directions, they still have 118,800 light years to go until the entire Milky Way has heard the word.

The photgraph reveals the limited extent of broadcasts since Marconi invented the radio in 1895.

And, when you consider there are billions of galaxies like ours in the universe, the quest for extra-terrestrial life is not likely to end any time soon.

Science blogger Adam Grossman, who created the diagram of ‘Humanity Bubble’ using a Nick Risinger’s famous image, quipped: ‘This makes me feel small, sad and alone. Hold me.’

Yet, given that it would take just four minutes to get to Mars when travelling at the speed of light, the distance of 200 light years is no small feat.

And, given recent evidence of a possible earthquake on the Red Planet that indicate life there, perhaps all we are waiting for is for Martians to invent a radio set.

Although, it’s unlikely that aliens are sitting around fiddling with rabbit ears in attempt to listen to our nonsense…but nevertheless…humans have been sending messages into space for decades. The first AM broadcast was on Christmas Eve, 1906, and the broadcast of the 1936 Olympics by Adolf Hitler is regarded as the first signal powerful enough to be carried into space.

When compared to the vast size of the Milky Way, our presence here on Earth seems insignificant. Even our space-bound messages — which are traveling at the speed of light — are dwarfed by the galaxy’s immensity. The image on the left illustrates our “bubble” of existence, which spans 200 light years in all directions — but is just a small blip on the cosmic radar.

by David Livingstone

 

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