t was Steven Spielberg's 1982 sci-fi movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial that acquainted most of us with life beyond earth. Closer home, it was Rakesh Roshan's Koi Mil Gaya (2003). Experimenting on the possibilities of alien existence, NASA scientists have tried to discover planets in the 'habitable' zone. Succeeding in finding over 2,000 exoplanets (a planet outside the solar system), all of which are 'not too hot, not too cold, but just right for life' — raised possibilities of ET or Jadoo's existence.
Taking cues from such discoveries and combining it with the proliferation of Twitter on Earth, two performance artists Nathaniel Stern and Scott Kildall have conceptualised Tweets in Space, a networked-performance event that beams Twitter messages to a nearby exoplanet that might support human-like, biological life.
"The project beams Twitter discussions from participants worldwide towards GJ667Cc – an exoplanet 22 light years away that might support extraterrestrial life. Simply add #tweetsinspace to your texts during performance time. We will collect your tweets and transmit them into deep space via a high-powered radio messaging system. Our soon-to-be alien friends will receive unmediated thoughts and responses about politics, philosophy, pop culture, dinner, dancing cats and everything in between," says Stern.
Aimed at activating a conversation about communication and life that traverses beyond our borders, the tweets will be transmitted into space on 22 September between 8-8.30am IST (10:30-11pm EST). The live projections will happen at the International Symposium on Electronic Art in New Mexico. The duo state that this performance differs from every past alien transmission as "It's not only a public performance, it is a real-time conversation between hopeful peers sending their thoughts to everywhere and nowhere".
"Anyone with an Internet connection can Tweet, and their messages will be included in our shotgun blast to the stars. We are directing our gaze, or rather tweets, via a high-powered radio telescope, towards GJ667Cc – one of the top candidates for alien life. It is part of a triple-star system, has a mass that is about four times that of Earth, and orbits a dwarf star at close range. It most certainly has liquid water, an essential component for the kind of life found on our own planet," explains Kildall.
Currently, a one-time event, the duo is excited about initiating conversations with alien life, so that "we can transmit a dialogue between humans to deep space".