METI Protocol

We propose that intentional broadcasts toward potential extraterrestrial receivers should be guided by a protocol that would provide constraints and guidelines for transmission and message construction. Developing this protocol may increase the likelihood that the message is understood and can also be used as a framework for educational outreach through the cross-cultural exchange of messages.
One possibility for communicating across the vast distances of space is the use of radio or other electromagnetic waves. Human civilization already posses the technology to broadcast and receive signals at many wavelengths. If other extraterrestrial civilizations exist in the galaxy, then it is possible that they could develop similar capabilities. Based on this premise, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) has scanned the sky for over fifty years now to look for any such signals. Along similar lines, a handful of attempts at messaging to extraterrestrial intelligence (METI) have been undertaken in recent years, with hopes of being picked up by an extraterrestrial listener. The content of these messages has increased in complexity and content, though, which may produce cryptic messages that are disorganized or difficult to decipher.

We propose the development of a METI protocol in order to guide the construction and transmission of messages to extraterrestrials. A METI protocol would include technical considerations such as the method of signal encoding, message length, and transmission strategy. This protocol would also provide guidelines for the content of messages, which includes limits on culturally-dependent, anthropocentric, or sense-dependent information. This will help ensure that a message into space is more representative of Earth as a whole and may also increase the likelihood that the message is understood by potential listeners.

As a way of testing messages and promoting educational outreach, we've implemented this website, where users can attempt to submit or decrypt messages according to a METI protocol. This will allow messages to be tested across cultural borders, which arguably is a minimum requirement for a message that would be sent to unknown extraterrestrial listeners.

The exchange may also help you gain insight into cultures other than your own by discovering success or failure at effectively communicating a message to unknown receivers on Earth.



Please see http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0265964611000415 for more information on this part of our project.















Comments