|By Jcolbyk at en.wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)|
SETI (Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence) researchers have been searching for signs of alien intelligence for over a century. The great silence ended in 2076 with the detection of a multi-band transmission established to be in or near the Tau Ceti system.
The signal was discovered in March 2076 by Carl Morgan, a research graduate at the SETI Institute based in the University of California. The project was experimenting with methods of detecting Sun Dragons or similar entities in interstellar space as an early warning system.
Upon review it was discovered that the signal had been recorded a month earlier, but the signal variance had been within the normal margin for error and so hadn’t been flagged by the computers. The nature of the signal mystified researchers for several months. It wasn’t distinct enough to be considered a deliberate communication yet contained enough patterns to not be of natural causes.
In October 2076 the team made a breakthrough when they realised that the transmission wasn’t a single signal, but actually a multitude overlaid upon each other. They also discovered that the signal was moving and that caused the increased signal strength.
The signal continued for the next 14 years. Over the years it slowly increased in strength, held steady for two years and then faded away until it was indistinguishable from background noise.
There has been considerable speculation about the source of the transmission. One theory is that it is a Sun Dragon entity, although analysis of the signal strength makes this unlikely. Records from the Mars Voyager included the electromagnetic emissions from the entity as it reproduced on the surface of the Sun and it was far below what could be detected at 12 light years by several orders of magnitude.
The most commonly accepted theory is that it is communications overspill from a technologically advanced society. It is their equivalent of radio and television spreading across space.
Returning the Message
Since first receiving the signal, there has been considerable debate as to whether a response should be sent. For most of the research team, the ambiguity of the signal meant that they didn’t know what they were responding to and so what the reply message should contain.
For some it didn’t matter and they pressed to have a first contact message sent to let the originators know that they weren’t alone in the galaxy. There was also reluctance from the United Nations Security Council and some prominent scientists at initiating contact with a potentially dangerous alien species.
The pressure increased when the stellar destinations for the two Sun Dragon entities spawned from the Sun were established. Sun Dragon B was heading towards Barnard’s Star and Sun Dragon C to Tau Ceti. The journey across the interstellar gulf would take the creatures centuries. Even so, many people believed that if there was a chance that the transmission came from an intelligent species then there was a moral duty to warn them.
The choice was made for them by a group of hackers who transmitted an updated version of the Arecibo message . The Arecibo message was a radio transmission sent from the Arecibo radio telescope in 1974.Following that, an official message was sent in various forms to communicate humanity’s existence and the threat of the Sun Dragon to their system.
In 2090 the signal started to fade, then disappeared completely and hasn’t reappeared since. No response has been received from the messages sent either. The disappearance of the signal and the mystery of what it actually represents provided the impetus for humanity’s first interstellar mission.