Scientists Want To Send Human DNA Samples To Aliens

A group of scientists want to send a message to aliens that would include samples of human DNA. I'm sure that will work out fine.

By Doug Norrie | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

aliens nasa

If you were sitting down with the intention of writing a science fiction movie that had a little twinge of horror to it, you might say to yourself, as a thought experiment, “What would happen if aliens got a hold of our DNA?” It’s a somewhat unsettling prospect almost meant to be the premise of a big-budget movie on the big screen. Except that it seems a group of scientists wants to do just that. Having learned seemingly nothing from the world of Hollywood imaginations about what happens when you screw around with this kind of thing, they want to feed aliens all kinds of information about our world and the human race. It’s going to make us sitting ducks. 

In a report from Scientific American (via Futurism), there is a group preparing to send a round of messaging out into the cosmos with the hopes that it will land in some aliens’ ears (or whatever they use) before it’s all said and done. A group from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, led by Jonathan Jiang, has a plan for sending out new messages into the galaxy with the hopes that we will be able to send relatable and informative communication to alien races about our little blue orb. The paper is titled “Beacon in the Galaxy” and it proposes one of the more comprehensive messages that could inform aliens about our way of life on Earth. 

Here’s where things get super interesting and maybe scary depending on what you think about being “found” by aliens out there in the furthest reaches of space. Jiang’s paper proposes sending out a communication, a la the Arecibo message, via radio transmission to a grouping of stars. And this message will be in the form of a bitmap that uses binary codes (1s and 0s) to produce images for the recipient. This makes the fundamental assumption that an alien race will be able to understand this code, but that’s the problem in every message sent to an unknown entity, what can we ship that they will be able to translate? 

aliens alien

Assuming the aliens get Jiang’s message and assuming they can then translate it in a functional way, there is set to be a ton of information to glean about the human race. Included in the proposed radio transmission will be information about our numerical systems, concepts of time, elements of the periodic table, as well as the structure of human DNA. Again, this all makes massive assumptions that an alien race would be able to translate the bitmap, to begin with, but if they are there will be some of the basic building blocks of human evolution for them to gaze at in wonder before they send their warships to come and take us as slaves. 

Of course, Jiang and company aren’t the first group of scientists and researchers to attempt this form of communication with potential aliens and the like. It’s been done before at varying times over the last 50 or so years. As far as we know, none of them have been successful. And it’s not clear if the lack of success is because the message never reached anyone/ anything, or because they could decipher what it was or where it came from. That will likely be the prevailing question until we actually make first contact. In whatever form it takes. 

Subscribe for Science News
Get More Real But Weird

Science News

Expect a confirmation email if you Subscribe.