Tuesday, 11 September 2012

From WW1 to WOW!

In 1928, two years after the discovery of the silent film showing the Pennine Fusiliers on an alien planet, the British Government secretly funded Nikola Tesla in an attempt to contact the stranded soldiers to no apparent avail.

Almost 50 years later, a SETI research project received a signal.

On August 15th 1977, at the Big Ear Observatory in Ohio, one of the two detectors of the football field-sized array picked up an anomalous signal originating from a dead area of space somewhere in the constellation of Sagittarius.

The Big Ear Radio Telescope

Reviewing the paper logs, Dr. Jerry R. Ehman recognised a strong candidate signal for extraterrestrial communication. He circled the anomaly on the print out and, in the margin, scribbled a note; one word -

Ehman's scribbled remark

The series of numbers, 6EQUJ5,  indicated an extremely powerful radio transmission. It lasted for 72 seconds before fading away. Passing through the same patch of sky minutes later, the second detector found nothing. It was as if the signal had stopped transmitting.

An intensive search for the signal, now dubbed the Wow! signal, failed to find a repeat transmission and the signal has not been detected since.

There are those who believe that the signal was sent in answer to Tesla’s original radio transmissions half a century earlier and perhaps similar in content to those allegedly recorded by the Dutch electrical engineer, Julius Wendigee, at the turn of the last century.

Could the Pennines have been attempting to send a reply? If so, what did the message contain, and why did it suddenly cease transmission? We may never know. However, there are those today who, despite the odds, still listen for English out of the void.