Earth to ET: fancy a barbie?

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Canberra, Australia - A website has been set up in Australia to enable internet users to send a message to extraterrestrials.

To mark the country's National Science Week, the HelloFromEarth organisers say they will beam messages from the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex to the Gliese 518d exoplanet - warning that they will take 20 years to arrive.

Gliese 518d was discovered in 2007, is about eight times heavier than Earth, and is believed to be largely covered in water.

The deadline for messages is 07:00 GMT Monday 24 August 2009. So far, more than 5,000 have been submitted. Unfortunately, it's probable that if there are any aliens out there, they'll be more surprised by our lack of imagination than anything.

 Is there anybody there?

"Hello there. We send message in peace," reads one. "Hello from Earth!" says another.

Equally, it seems an awful lot of trouble to go to in order to tell an alien civilisation: "Hi from Moscow. Here raining. Love Vova". 

At least they'll see us as a sociable bunch. A couple of toddlers have asked the aliens round for a play date, for example. And a number of correspondents have taken the trouble to invite them to parties or barbecues.

It is, though, perhaps a bit tight of Melbourne-based Daniel Edmonds to ask them to bring their own meat and beer.

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