Scientists are eager to determine whether we’re alone in the universe. Evidence certainly suggests a planet such as Mars once supported microbial life, and many other findings point to plenty of Earth-like planets filling the cosmos. So if there are extraterrestrial beings out there, making contact is a priority. That’s why have initiatives such as the Long Signal METI (Messaging Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) experiment, which wants to send out a GIF (below), of all things, out into space.
Spearheaded by conceptual artist Kim Asendorf, the GIF is being sent toward Gliese 526, a constellation around 17.6 light-years away. The animation itself is odd and confusing and pretty boring; it’s what will represent humanity should E.T. or some other alien intercept the GIF. Maybe I just don’t “get” what Asendorf is attempting to communicate. At least send up a GIF of Psy’s “Gangnam Style.”
Asendorf chose the constellation of stars because it’s considered a potentially habitable solar system. The signal isn’t expected to arrive until 2031, giving us plenty of time to plan a welcoming party for whatever alien race decides we’re interesting enough to come visit.