# QBasic message from space?

If I lived on a small terrestrial planet that orbits an M-class
star somewhere in the M13 galaxy, and while tuning
accross the very (very very very) high frequency bands with
my shortwave radio, I just happened accross a strange
sounding noise; would I dismiss it as noise, or investigate
it enough to determine that it is a message? Would I determine
that it is a modulated signal, shifting descretly
between two barely separated frequencies -- a binary signal?
Would I measure the period of each frequency shift to derive
the binary message:

00000010101010000000000001010000010100000001001000100010001001011001010101010101010100100100000000000000000000000000000000000001100000000000000000001101000000000000000000011010000000000000000001010100000000000000000011111000000000000000000000000000000001100001110001100001100010000000000000110010000110100011000110000110101111101111101111101111100000000000000000000000000100000000000000000100000000000000000000000000001000000000000000001111110000000000000111110000000000000000000000011000011000011100011000100000001000000000100001101000011000111001101011111011111011111011111000000000000000000000000001000000110000000001000000000001100000000000000010000011000000000011111100000110000001111100000000001100000000000001000000001000000001000001000000110000000100000001100001100000010000000000110001000011000000000000000110011000000000000011000100001100000000011000011000000100000001000000100000000100000100000001100000000100010000000011000000001000100000000010000000100000100000001000000010000000100000000000011000000000110000000011000000000100011101011000000000001000000010000000000000010000011111000000000000100001011101001011011000000100111001001111111011100001110000011011100000000010100000111011001000000101000001111110010000001010000011000000100000110110000000000000000000000000000000000011100000100000000000000111010100010101010101001110000000001010101000000000000000010100000000000000111110000000000000000111111111000000000000111000000011100000000011000000000001100000001101000000000101100000110011000000011001100001000101000001010001000010001001000100100010000000010001010001000000000000100001000010000000000001000000000100000000000000100101000000000001111001111101001111000

Would I somehow figure out that the message encoded a
pictograph? If I was able to perfectly demodulate the entire
message, would I realize that the number of bits would factor
only into two prime numbers?

Would I fire up my "Andromeda" computer, invoke my "M13Basic"
interpreter, and write a program to decode the pictograph??
[code]
DEFINT A-Z
rows = 73: columns = 23 'two primes whose product = the message length
blockchr\$ = CHR\$(219) + CHR\$(219) 'solid square on a 80 x 25 chr screen
spacechr\$ = " " 'two spaces ' empty square "
CLS
a\$ = "" 'the MESSAGE ......
a\$=a\$ + "0000001010101000000000000101000001010000000100100010001000100101"
a\$=a\$ + "1001010101010101010100100100000000000000000000000000000000000001"
a\$=a\$ + "1000000000000000000011010000000000000000000110100000000000000000"
a\$=a\$ + "0101010000000000000000001111100000000000000000000000000000000110"
a\$=a\$ + "0001110001100001100010000000000000110010000110100011000110000110"
a\$=a\$ + "1011111011111011111011111000000000000000000000000001000000000000"
a\$=a\$ + "0000010000000000000000000000000000100000000000000000111111000000"
a\$=a\$ + "0000000111110000000000000000000000011000011000011100011000100000"
a\$=a\$ + "0010000000001000011010000110001110011010111110111110111110111110"
a\$=a\$ + "0000000000000000000000000100000011000000000100000000000110000000"
a\$=a\$ + "0000000010000011000000000011111100000110000001111100000000001100"
a\$=a\$ + "0000000000010000000010000000010000010000001100000001000000011000"
a\$=a\$ + "0110000001000000000011000100001100000000000000011001100000000000"
a\$=a\$ + "0011000100001100000000011000011000000100000001000000100000000100"
a\$=a\$ + "0001000000011000000001000100000000110000000010001000000000100000"
a\$=a\$ + "0010000010000000100000001000000010000000000001100000000011000000"
a\$=a\$ + "0011000000000100011101011000000000001000000010000000000000010000"
a\$=a\$ + "0111110000000000001000010111010010110110000001001110010011111110"
a\$=a\$ + "1110000111000001101110000000001010000011101100100000010100000111"
a\$=a\$ + "1110010000001010000011000000100000110110000000000000000000000000"
a\$=a\$ + "0000000000111000001000000000000001110101000101010101010011100000"
a\$=a\$ + "0000101010100000000000000001010000000000000011111000000000000000"
a\$=a\$ + "0111111111000000000000111000000011100000000011000000000001100000"
a\$=a\$ + "0011010000000001011000001100110000000110011000010001010000010100"
a\$=a\$ + "0100001000100100010010001000000001000101000100000000000010000100"
a\$=a\$ + "0010000000000001000000000100000000000000100101000000000001111001"
a\$=a\$ + "111101001111000"

charptr = 1 'point to each character in a\$
FOR row = 1 TO rows
PRINT TAB(18);
FOR column = 1 TO columns
IF MID\$(a\$, charptr, 1) = "1" THEN
PRINT blockchr\$;
ELSE
PRINT spacechr\$;
END IF
charptr = charptr + 1
NEXT column
PRINT
DO: LOOP WHILE INKEY\$ = "" 'wait for a key press
NEXT row
END
[/code]
Maybe. Probably not.

Live long, and prosper.
rg

some fun stuff:
http://www.physics.hku.hk/seti/47message.html
http://www.mth.kcl.ac.uk/events/past_events/summer_school2000/Problem 15.htm
http://www.fourmilab.ch/goldberg/setimsg.html
http://www.fourmilab.ch/goldberg/arecibo_decoded.html
http://astronomica.org/Gallery/seti/seti11.html

• Interesting. But, what is it?

[code]

[/code]

• : Interesting. But, what is it?
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It is the decoded binary radio message that was sent from the giant dish antenna that is mounted in a natural near-perfect parabolic-shaped ravine at Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Earth. It was sent on November 16, 1964 at a time when the tangent of the earth's surface at Arecibo; (and thus, the tangent of the dish antenna) was perpendicular to the M13 star cluster in the Hercules galaxy 25,000 light years away.

The pictogragh (which shows up as a series of solid squares when you run the Qbasic program from DOS/DOSbox) depicts what life is like on Earth. It shows such things as the first ten binary numbers (at the top of the pictogragh, needed to decode the rest of the message), the atomic numbers of the essential elements for life on earth, the key molecules made of these elements that make up the molecule of DNA, a representation of the DNA double-helix, and so forth.

There has been much discussion as to whether the message will ever be heard; and if it is, if it will be understood. The CW is that if a LGM (little green man) is intelligent enough to be capable of receiving the space message, then he will be intelligent enough to decode and understand as least SOME of it.

Today, the signal has traveled about 37 of the 25000 light years toward its intended recipients, so it still has about 24,063 light years distance to go. I don't think I'm going to wait up for the answer. :-)

rg