What would happen if scientists suddenly stumbled upon a message from outer space? There's not actually a formal plan. No international body has ever decided whether we reply or not, and, if so, how we do it and what we say. But in 1967, we did get a dry run at a close encounter and, in the process, worked out a system of how confirm and report an alien communication that's still used today. Technology review has the story.

3 Responses to “1967: The year we thought we made contact”

  1. Paul Renault says:

    The aliens DID contact us, or at least tried.  But everyone was in Montreal that year…

  2. I have always wondered how we are even going to attempt to begin to translate the message…I mean this thing will be “alien” in the truest form of the word. What possible connection could they have with any language on Earth that would begin to enable us to understand it?

    • AnthonyC says:

      I suspect it would take decades, at a minimum. But, so? All human-known means of communication are lightspeed at best, so any aliens contacting us probably expect a decades to centuries long delay in a response, anyway,

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