Google Doodle celebrates the 44th anniversary of first Arecibo message– it is an interstellar radio message carrying basic information about humanity which was sent to globular star cluster M13 (known as a group of 3,00,000 stars in the constellation) in the hope that extraterrestrial intelligence might receive and decode it.
The three-minute radio message consisted of a series of exactly 1,679 binary digits (a multiple of two prime numbers) which could be arranged in a grid 73 rows by 23 columns—was aimed at a cluster of stars 25,000 light years away from earth, Google said.
The message was aimed at the location of M13 – some 25,000 light years away because it was a large and close collection of stars that was available in the sky at that time.
The transmission was planned to show Arecibo’s recently upgraded radio telescope which had a 1000-foot-diameter dish – made it the largest and most powerful in the world during that time.
“Since the Arecibo Message will take roughly 25,000 years to reach its intended destination M13, humankind will have to wait a long time for an answer. How long? In the 44 years since it was first transmitted, the message has travelled only 259 trillion miles, only a tiny fraction of the 146,965,638,531,210,240 or so miles to its final destination,” Google explained.
Dr. Frank Drake, then at Cornell University wrote the message with help from Carl Sagan, among others. The message consisted of numbers one (1) to ten (10) and the atomic numbers of the elements hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and phosphorus, which make up deoxyribonucleic acid.