If we or others succeed in discovering another civilization, what – if anything – should we say to them?
Breakthrough Message aims to encourage debate about how and what to communicate with possible intelligent beings beyond earth. It takes the form of an international competition to create messages that could be read by an advanced civilization. The message must be in digital format, and should be representative of humanity and planet Earth.
The pool of prizes for the best messages totals $1,000,000. The competition is open to everyone.
Developing a message that could both speak for us and be understood by alien intelligences is a hard problem. It may require insight in fields from mathematics and physics to linguistics, psychology and art.
For the moment we have no plan to send these messages. The program is a way to learn about the possibilities and constraints associated with interstellar correspondence. To encourage global discussion on the ethical and philosophical issues of sending messages into space, we pledge not to transmit any message until there has been a wide-ranging debate at high levels of science and politics on the risks and rewards of contacting advanced civilizations.
Details of the competition will be announced soon.