SETI Needs Your Help With Alien Contact

Other-worldly tongue top priority for scientists

By Bob Redell
|  Monday, Jul 13, 2009  |  Updated 3:04 PM PDT
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Maybe these folks, dressed as aliens for Halloween in Hong Kong, know a few phrases that will help Earthlings communicate when it's time for the big meeting.

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Figuring Out Alien Native Tongue

Researchers at SETI in Mountain View are asking for your input to decide what to say if alien lifeforms ever contact Earthlings.
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The SETI Institute in Mountain View, California doesn't want to be tongue tied if little green men ever decide to reach out to planet Earth.  Nothing would be more embarrassing than an exchange like this: 

Klaatu:  "We come in peace." 

Man: "uh..."

That's why scientists at the research center have been collecting hundreds of suggestions from people all over the world on what our first contact message should be.

Their question is simple: "If we discover intelligent life beyond Earth, should we reply, and if so, what should we say?"

Many have suggested "help" because of the problems our planet is facing. Others have posted images, some even original musical compositions.

Whatever the message, it will have to be "translated" into some sort of mathematical expression. It is unlikely aliens speak any of our languages.  And we'd prefer not to expose them to the few Earthlings who speak Klingon.

What would you say to beings that live on other planets if you were given the chance? You can post your own suggestions in the comments field below and at http://earthspeaks.seti.org.

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