Researchers Have Sent Messages to Advanced Alien Civilizations

After 25 years scanning the planet for the most advanced sounds and ideas on earth, Sónar festival has now turned its antennas towards space, by sending music beyond the limits of our solar system in an attempt to communicate with extraterrestrial intelligence.

A quote of the Sónar directors Enric Palau, Sergio Caballero and Ricard Robles: “Sonar Calling GJ273b arises from the innate human Need to communicate and connect. It also attempts to find an answer to a question asked by civilisations throughout history – Are we alone in the universe? At Sónar, we hope we aren’t. Furthermore, given the largely negative impact of humanity on our planet, perhaps this is the best time to reach out to – hopefully superior – extraterrestrial intelligence to solicit help and advice on what we can do to change things. At a time of global conflict and seemingly insurmountable challenges, Sónar Calling is an attempt to rekindle a sense of global consciousness an a shared reflection on our collective present, that we hope will lead to new ideas and new partners. Yes, even alien ones.”

“We are witnessing an exponential increase in our knowledge of planetary systems in the universe and we now know some 10 exoplanets that could be suitable to host life. Of course, we have no clue whether life has thrived on the surface of those planets and if such lifeforms have developed intelligence. But we at IEEC are excited to participate in the experiment of sending an intentional message to the nearby habitable planet GJ273b and wait for a response. If that happened in 25 year’s time, it would certainly be mind-boggling.” commented Ignasi Ribas, director of the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC).

“METI is delighted to partner with Sónar for our first transmissions. Sónar is a world leader in exploring the interface of creativity and technology, complementing METI’s emphasis on the science of interstellar communication,” said Douglas Vakoch, president of the Messaging to ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence organization (METI).


The “Sónar Calling” message includes 33 music pieces of 10 seconds each, commissioned exclusively from artists from diverse backgrounds and origins who encapsulate Sónar’s exploratory approach to music over its quarter century of existence.

The first batch of transmissions sent on 16.17.18 October of the current year have included music from Autechre, Modeselektor, Laurent Garnier, Holly Herndon, Matmos, Jean-Michel Jarre, Nina Kraviz, Francisco López, The Black Madonna, Kerri Chandler, Ólafur Arnalds, Kode 9, Laurel Halo, Soichi Terada, Fatima Al Qadiri, Cabo San Roque, BFlecha and Nisennenmondai.

A second batch of transmissions is planned for April 2018 when music from Richie Hawtin, Carsten Nicolai, Squarepusher, Kate Tempest, Daito Manabe, Juana Molina, Niño de Elche, Cora Novoa, Lorenzo Senni, Zora Jones, Desert, LCC, Yuzo Koshiro and more will be sent.

All of them have performed at Sónar on one or more occasions and some of them will also be included in the line-up for Sónar 2018.
Look out for the first announcement in the coming weeks.

“Sónar Calling GJ273b” is also a collective celebration in which the Sónar audience can take part, participating in the open call which kicks off today. The public is invited to send an original composition, in any genre or musical style, and conceived with an unknown, extraterrestrial audience in mind. From all the pieces received,
Sónar will select 3 to form part of the next transmission, programmed for April 2018. The selected creators will be invited to celebrate with Sónar in Barcelona next June together with a 4 guests (4 VIP passes).

Luyten’s Star is in the constellation Canis Minoris, at a distance of 12.4 light years from us. It is a cool red dwarf star, with a temperature of about 3000ºC (compared to 5500ºC of the Sun) and a mass one third that of the Sun. The star, which cannot be seen without a telescope, was named after a Dutch-American astronomer, Willem Jacob Luyten, who measured its motion across the sky.
The discovery of two exoplanets around this star was announced in early 2017. One of them, named Luyten’s Star b or GJ273b, has a mass about three times larger than Earth and is located in the habitable zone of the star, although it is probably somewhat warmer than our planet. Its year lasts about 19 of our days.
It’s not known if Luyten’s Star b does indeed have liquid water, nor if it has retained an atmosphere. But at the moment there is no reason to think that it is not habitable. If it were, it would be a world with oceans like ours with a sky lit by a star apparently larger than the sun and shining with a reddish light.

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