How to recognize an alien signal

It is extremely difficult to recognize an alien signal, because it is almost certainly encoded in a way unknown to us. However, scientists believe that it should definitely have elements of navigation information that we can figure out.

Alien signal. Source:

Alien signal

Scientists continue to prepare for possible contact with an alien civilization. There is an article on the arXiv preprint site on how we can find out the signals that spaceships of other intelligent species exchange with each other and with the mother planet.

At first glance, it looks like searching for a needle in a haystack. After all, there are an incredible number of frequencies at which this can happen, and we have no idea which of them will be chosen by creatures whose brains are arranged differently from ours. However, the authors of the study assure that everything is not so bad.

After all, interstellar space is saturated with dust and gas, which absorb most of the radiation well. Only microwave transmissions are relatively free. This means that they should be used by aliens.

Decoding the message

However, even if we know at what frequency we need to look for an alien signal, it’s not a fact that we recognize it. The fact is that absolutely all digital communication systems use encoding. And if you don’t know it, then the message is not just impossible to decipher, it is difficult to distinguish it from noise.

However, the authors of the study believe that any code can be deciphered. For this, we just need a certain part of the message, about which we are sure what it means. During the Second World War, the British solved the German Enigma code in this way. They guessed that each transmission contains information about meteorological circumstances, which means that the word “weather” should be there. When they found it, they cracked the cipher.

In the case of alien ships, such an excerpt may be navigation data. The most convenient way to determine your position during interstellar flight is the pulsar signals, which are always audible and the position of which is well known. It is quite possible that the aliens will use them to determine the position of their ships.

If this is the case, then we really can get the necessary key to decrypt their signal. However, even the authors of the study note that we do not know how differently the inhabitants of other worlds can perceive the Universe from ours. It is quite possible that in fact the described method will be too difficult to use.

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