The UKSRN held its third meeting at Leeds Beckett University. We were privileged to host Claudio Maccone and Mike Garrett this year as representatives of the IAA SETI permanent committee. This year’s hot topic was the exciting announcement of Breakthrough Listen and Breakthrough Message. A working group was set up to investigate submitting an entry to the Breakthrough Message competition, as you might have seen in the news.
The UKSRN are pretty divided on the issue of messaging extraterrestrials (METI). In fact, a quick straw poll showed the attendees as split 50-50 (although our resident philosopher Anders Sandberg reverted to type by voting for both options). Fortunately, the Breakthrough Message competition entries aren’t going to be transmitted. Instead, the competition is an exercise for all mankind to think about what we should say to another civilisation, and how we should say it.
The prize pot for the Message competition is $1m, which is not to be sniffed at when UK SETI remains underfunded. All of us at UKSRN are looking forward to seeing what entries are submitted when the competition gets going!