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Airdate: Feb 01, 2010
Scientist: Jill Tarter

Kids' Science Challenge: SETI - Messages in Sound

Kids' Science Challenge: SETI - Messages in Sound
Inspired by a 6th-grader, the SETI Institute has launched a site for the worldwide submission of Earth sights and sounds.

Transcript:
music; ambience

JT: So Kamau, you got us started on a project we've been thinking about for a long time. We're going to put up a website, and we're going to invite people around the world, hopefully lots of kids, to send us sounds that represent their world.

JM: Blend a child's curiosity with some serious scientific know-how, and you might come up with an idea that captures everyone's imagination. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Kamau Hamilton submitted a winning entry to last year's Kids' Science Challenge, our free nationwide competition for 3rd to 6th graders. His idea to send everyday sounds into space struck a chord with Jill Tarter and others at the SETI Institute, that's the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

[Kamau's sound recordings]

And right now we're listening to some of the sounds that Kamau recorded in this neighborhood. Sounds like these might come in handy someday, if we ever find ourselves in the position of sending a reply to an alien message.

JT: We figure that any message that goes back should be one that's generated or created by the planet. I don't think Jill Tarter should speak for Earth. I don't know what everybody wants to say. That's one of the reasons that we're really eager to have people send us sounds and messages, along with the ones that you've given us to try and understand, what would everybody on this planet want to say to a race of beings somewhere else. What do we want them to know about humans?

JM: You can upload your own sounds and messages to earthspeaks.seti.org. That's earthspeaks.seti.org. Pulse of the Planet's Kids' Science Challenge are made possible by the National Science Foundation. For more info, check out kidsciencechallenge.com. I'm Jim Metzner.