Arizona State University, in collaboration with the daughter of world-renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, wants to know what Valley youths would say to space aliens "when" they contact earthlings.
As part of the university's Origins Project, ASU is holding a contest for Maricopa County grade school students called the "Dear Aliens Project" with the hopes of finding someone to become the voice of humanity once the aliens arrive.
"We can see huge distances, and may one day find a far distant planet which doesn't just have the perfect conditions for life - but life actually already thriving on it. Perhaps one day we'll hear some alien music or eavesdrop on a conversation. And because we are a pretty noisy planet, with our radio and TV traffic leaking out into space--it just might be possible that aliens will one day pick up our signals and decide to investigate."
We've seen movies like Independence Day -- fictitious aliens never want to "investigate," they usually want to blow things up and rob our planet of its natural resources.
ASU Professor Paul Davies is a little more optimistic than Hollywood, though, and he finds himself in the unique position of being responsible for responding to aliens, should they drop by to "investigate."
Davies is head of the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) Post Detection Task Group, which means it's his job to respond to aliens "when" they contact earth. He says he needs some help coming up with something to say.
"Please don't blow us up" seems like a logical place to start, but Davies is asking the help of K-12 students to come up with the proper response.
"What's space weed like?" probably won't score you any points with Davies, so if you enter, keep your submissions on appropriate.
Below is a list of requirements. For more information on the contest click here.
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SHOW ME HOW
* Submissions must be written in English and attached to the official entry form.
* Entries must not exceed the maximum word count for the entrant's age group (see below).
* A parental permission form must accompany each submission.
* Please do not include drawings or diagrams.
* Materials submitted cannot be returned.
* ASU reserves the right to reject inappropriate submissions.
* SUBMISSION DEADLINE: APRIL 1, 2011