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First Major Search for the Existence of Other Intelligent Life in the Universe

Press Release From: Team Encounter
Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2003

A NEWS BROADCAST FROM OVER 50 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES FROM PLANET EARTH TO THE STARS TO BE LED OFF BY INTERSTELLAR AMBASSADOR HUGH DOWNS

Similar to the pioneering efforts made by SETI (The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and other scientific groups around the world, which only listen for signs of life in outer space, this historic event will actually reach out for other intelligent life in the universe by broadcasting high-powered deep space radio transmissions.

"Despite modern telecommunications, only once in the history of humanity has a high-powered message been sent in the direction of other worlds---and that 1974 message was limited to only a few scientists," says Charles M. Chafer, president of Team Encounter, LLC. "This mission is another of humanity's early efforts to accomplish perhaps its greatest social, technological and spiritual imperative: First Contact."

On February 14, 2003, Team Encounter, LLC (Houston, Texas) will transmit a series of interstellar radio messages on behalf of the worldwide public, using a 230-foot diameter radio astronomy dish (one of the world's largest steerable radio astronomy dishes) at the Evpatriya Radio Astronomy Facility in the Ukraine.

Called the Cosmic Call, the broadcast will be aimed at target stars deemed likely prospects to harbour life supporting planets as selected by a team of scientific experts. The messages will consist of multiple parts: Part 1, designed by the science team, will involve anticryptic messages conveying detailed information about Earth and humanity; Part 2, will include a re-broadcast of the 1974 Arecibo radio transmission, and Part 3 will consist of the names and personal messages of the Team Encounter participants. These participants can also send their messages, photos, and even symbolically travel themselves (in the form of a hair sample) out of the solar system aboard the Team Encounter spacecraft in the year 2006. This historic voyage will use a state-of-the-art solar sail to power "Humanity's First Starship" out of the solar system.

This most unique mission has already proven itself an academic inspiration for school children. School districts around the globe have included the Team Encounter mission in their curriculum. The Encounter team is encouraging schools worldwide to use this as an educational component to build upon.

Team Encounter believes that this mission shows that with the emergence of global cooperation, even amidst international unrest, countries can peacefully join together in offering this unprecedented opportunity to everyone.

People interested in participating in the Team Encounter mission or Cosmic Call, can call 1-800-ORBIT-11, or visit www.CosmicCall.com, or www.TeamEncounter.com

Message Details: Part 1, created by the Team Encounter international science team, Stephane Dumas and Yvan Dutil, is designed to be easily decoded and carries information about our technology, our own planet, and humanity. The message uses a newly designed character set that is extremely resilient to noise. Data being transmitted in the message includes recent scientific progress including: physical constants, the largest known prime number, and the current number of known decimal of Pi. The entire coding scheme has been tested in the presence of noise and has been confirmed that it would be easy to perform the critical recovery of the message format.

"The message is constructed to induce a reply," says Yvan Dutil, a Canadian astrophysicist involved in the message conception. "We show we are curious and ask some questions."

Part II, includes a re-broadcast of the 1974 Arecibo message.

Part III, consists of the names and personal messages of Team Encounter participants. Included in the transmission are text messages, photos, images, audio, and video clips, from people worldwide including:

  • Dr. Sally Ride, the 1st female astronaut;
  • Rock Star, Greg Lake; and the KFT Band from Hungary;
  • Children from schools worldwide as well as museums, major organizations, whole cities, towns, from over 50 different countries around the globe, including USA, Argentina, Belgium, Morocco, China, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Denmark, Japan, Puerto Rico, France, Singapore, Germany, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Taiwan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Kuwait, and more.
  • Thousands of Team Encounter participants.

The Target Stars: Team Encounter has selected 5 candidate stars for the Cosmic Call broadcast. Selected by the science team, target stars are selected as likely prospects to harbour life supporting planets. Targets include:

  • 55 Cancri, situated at 44 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Cancer. Three planets have been detected around this star, and it contains many characteristics that make it suitable for life. Also, Earth-like orbits are possible in this system.
  • 47 Ursa Majoris, located in the constellation of Ursa Major, containing the Big Dipper.
  • HIP 26335, located in the constellation of Orion.
  • HIP 7918, located in the constellation of Andromeda.
  • HIP 4872, located in the constellation of Cassiopea.

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