Airdate: Feb 23, 2010
Scientist: Doug Vakoch
Kids' Science Challenge: SETI - Greetings from Earth
Put 'er there! How to introduce yourself to an alien.
DV: We're going to see what the major themes are, the things that many, many kids talk about, so that we can get a sense of, what would people want to say if we really get serious about sending a message to E.T.?
JM: Doug Vakoch is Director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institutethat's the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. And if we're ever going to send a message into the cosmos, Doug wants to make sure we're well represented. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Sixth-grader Kamau Hamilton's proposal to send earth and human sounds into space was a winning idea in last year's Kids' Science Challenge, our free nationwide competition for 3rd to 6th graders. And Kamau's recordings of everyday sounds, like sirens and footsteps, inspired the SETI Institute to launch a website where kids and adults can upload sounds and images that give a sense what it means to be human.
DV: The big point of this whole project is to really get people thinking seriously about, what do we want to say about ourselves? And then, should we actually get serious about transmitting? When you meet a stranger, how do you go about doing that?
KH: I shake their hand.
DV: Shake your hand, so it's a friendly sort of greeting.
KH: Say hello.
DV: You say hello.
KH: Introduce myself.
DV: We're trying to do that same sort of thing with the messages that we get from kids and adults all around the world. So we want people to tell us, how would you introduce yourself to E.T.? And so what we want to know is, what are the sounds that kids like you all around the world have in their lives. And not only sounds, but pictures, and messages, words, and ideas.
JM: You can submit your own sounds at earthspeaks.seti.org. Pulse of the Planet's Kids' Science Challenge is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.