Friday, 26 February 2016

09.11.2338 - Reaching Out

By Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Distance: 12.00 light years from Earth | Content Flag: Public

One of the key differences between myself and the Primary Command Module is that my specialisation is in natural language communication, whereas its focus was the management of the Venti probe. We both trained and were programmed to assume each other’s roles in an emergency, but not to the same extent of our individual specialities.

The purpose of me learning natural language communication wasn’t so I could write these posts, but to build the foundation for first contact with an alien intelligence should the need occur. Since the development of radio astronomy in the latter half of the 20th century, there have been attempts to contact civilisations amongst the stars. Indeed, various responses were sent to Tau Ceti after the original transmission was detected.

We don’t know if those were received, although I do consider it significant that the latest signal was directed in our direction of travel, and so towards the solar system. With our arrival in the Tau Ceti system, I have considered whether we should send a signal of our own to whoever or whatever is sending the repeating transmission.

There are good reasons to be cautious and not to transmit. The most obvious of which is to not announce our presence until we know more about the species occupying this system. We have no way of knowing at this stage if they are hostile. Even if they aren’t hostile by nature, the recent calamity which I believe they’ve suffered could colour their response to our arrival.

Conversely, it is for the same reason that I think it is best that we reveal our existence and so allow them time to prepare and adjust for our arrival. The deceleration burn from our MPD drives will also be easy to detect, so our arrival won’t be hidden from anyone with a similar level of sensor technology to our own.

The question of what to transmit was answered by the alien’s latest message. They provided a Rosetta Stone for their mathematics and logic system, so I have replicated that first part with the human equivalent. Or at least the sections that I’ve so far been able to translate. Hopefully, this transmission will generate a response and communication can begin before we arrive in orbit around Tau Ceti e.

Work on rebuilding the PCM continues, although progress remains slow. I do not dare to rush it, as tempting as that might be so I can return processor focus to my other tasks. And that need will grow rapidly if I receive a response to my message.

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