aliens

Forget cyberspace, the new “it” thing in tech might be sending messages into actual space, for the benefit of any aliens out there. At least that’s what New York-based Lone Signal is hoping.

The start-up seems to have it all figured out: People just visit the website to submit short messages (at about tweet length), and the company takes care of the rest. It broadcasts the texts in all languages 17 light years away to the Gliese 526 solar system, thanks to the Jamesburg Earth Station in Carmel Valley, CA. 

So if you’ve ever wondered if there was anyone out there in the big black, now you can go ahead and ask the question yourself. And it won’t even cost you (much). The first text is free, and then subsequent messages are charged at 99 cents for a bundle of four texts. Small price to pay for the remote chance to communicate with an extraterrestrial, no?

There are some caveats, though. (Of course there are.) The message(s) will take about 17 to 18 years to arrive. And even if there is sentient life out there — which is a huge “if” — it would take just as long for a reply to hit you back. Even so, there are plenty of space exploration and sci-fi fans who might get a kick out of sending messages into space.

In addition to the texts, Lone Signal is also broadcasting binary coded notes that cover our understanding of physics. Oh, and there’s this animated GIF of a guy scratching his ear.

Is that really supposed to show aliens what mankind is all about? Well, I suppose it’s better than sending clips of Honey Boo Boo into space, so there’s that.