NASA plans on beaming naked pictures of a man and a woman into outer space in a bid to encourage any intelligent alien life forms to respond to the message.
Published on March 25, the "A Beacon in the Galaxy" project provides an updated binary-coded message developed for transmission to extraterrestrial intelligence in the Milky Way galaxy.
According to the authors, the message contains "basic mathematical and physical concepts, followed by information on the biochemical composition of life on Earth." It also includes the "Solar System's time-stamped position in the Milky Way, and a digitized depiction of the Solar System, and Earth's surface."
The new message composed by NASA scientists is an update to the first messages broadcasted to outer space in 1974. According to the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, the Arecibo message was "the most powerful broadcast ever deliberately beamed into space."
The Arecibo message was the namesake of the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico and was transmitted to celebrate the telescope's major upgrade.
SETI has been beaming messages to outer space ever since.
The original Arecibo message was a rudimentary 1679 bits of data, arranged into 73 lines of 23 characters per line.
This time, NASA is taking the messaging game up a higher notch.
The project started in early March, with Jonathan Jiang of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory leading a group of researchers. The team published a proposal for the messaging scheme fit for the broadcast.
Jiang explained that they wanted to "deliver the maximum amount of information about our society and the human species in the minimal amount of message."
"With improvements in digital technology, we can do much better than the Arecibo message in 1974," Jiang added.
The paper published by Jiang and his team also outlined the qualification of their composed message. According to their article, the "message is designed with basic information generally outside of change arising from technological and scientific advancements by humans."
The team's goal is to create a transmittable message that will remain relevant regardless of human technological advancement.
Cramped into 6534 bits of data, the message also includes the binary and Decimal systems, Mathematical operations, exponential operations, variables, particle physics, structures of the hydrogen atom, and the structures of DNA.
"The message's ultimate goal is to start a dialogue with ETI—no matter how far in the future that might occur," the paper explained.