Making Contact With Hungry Aliens

Very Large Array New Mexico wikimedia

Did you know that back in 2008 over a six-hour period, we were using high-powered radars in the Arctic Circle to send an advertisement into space for the first time?

The “message” sent was directed towards a solar system in the Ursa Major constellation. It’s close, relatively, being only 42 light years from Earth. Why send it there? Because this solar system contains a habitable zone, sometimes called a “Goldilocks Zone,” and it might have an Earth-like planet. And that means it might have extraterrestrial life. And that means they would get hungry.

So what was that signal/message/advertisement? It was for Doritos tortilla chips.

The signal was sent from a European space station on the Norwegian island of Svalbard. They don’t normally use their array of radars for ads. Their normal work is to study the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

Now, what might aliens make of the Doritos message? Actually, they probably can’t decode it no matter how intelligent life is there. It was sent as a video file coded into ones and zeroes. They would be able to interpret the series of regular pulses over several hours as “intelligent,” and not just background noise.

When I watched the ad, known as “Tribe,” I wasn’t sure how I would interpret it as an Earthling, let alone as an alien.

Does Earth have tribes of Dorito chips that can move on their own and have the intelligence to worship and even offer a sacrifice to the god Salsa? And what about the much larger creature (who does not seem much more intelligent) who seems to rule both Salsa and Doritos and who finds the sacrificed chip, eats it and seems “appeased.” Who is in charge here?

If you have a close encounter of the third kind one day with aliens from Ursa Major, be sure to have Doritos and salsa (and I’m going to say also some other dips) ready to offer them.  Hopefully, that will appease the aliens and they won’t decide to dip and then eat you.

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A lifelong educator on and off the Internet. Random by design and predictably irrational. It's turtles all the way down. Dolce far niente.

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