Grab NASA's free ebook on communicating with aliens


This eBook isn't nearly as 'fun' as it sounds like it should be. It does not tell you to leave a trail of Reese's Pieces, or teach you how to speak Klingon. The book is not even about language per se. It is a substantive look at what happens when we find intelligent, extra-terrestrial life which, according to SETI, will happen in the next 20 years.

The book, "Archaeology, Anthropology and Interstellar Communication", Edited by SETI Director of Interstellar Message Composition Douglas Vakoch moves outside of physics and astronomy to ask more profound questions about what should happen if and when we find someone out there to talk to.

According to NASA:
Addressing a field that has been dominated by astronomers, physicists, engineers, and computer scientists, the contributors to this collection raise questions that may have been overlooked by physical scientists about the ease of establishing meaningful communication with an extraterrestrial intelligence. These scholars are grappling with some of the enormous challenges that will face humanity if an information-rich signal emanating from another world is detected. By drawing on issues at the core of contemporary archaeology and anthropology, we can be much better prepared for contact with an extraterrestrial civilization, should that day ever come.

The book addresses questions about potential similarities and differences in culture, the difficulty of finding a common language to communicate in and the problem of time lapse between messages (space is freaking huge and it takes a great deal of time for signals to travel through it, assuming that neither we, nor the aliens have faster than light space travel.)

Archaeology, Anthropology and Interstellar Communication is available as a PDF, MOBI (Kindle format), or EPub (other eReaders).

Once you have that, you might want to grab this handy tip sheet at io9 that explains what to do if aliens come here before we find them and you are the first person to chat with them.
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