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Personal ads for aliens: One of the world's biggest online communities has put in the high bid for an out-of-this-world radio transmission — and plans to open up the line for its millions of members to transmit messages to outer space.
"We wanted to be the first to offer free job postings, apartment listings, personals and other classifieds to the extraterrestrial community," Newmark joked in today's news release. "We believe there could be an infinite market opportunity."
The hook for the transmission is that aliens far from Earth just might be able to intercept and decode the signals someday. Seth Shostak, an astronomer at the SETI Institute who is heavily engaged in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, is doubtful about that claim. His studies indicate that regular TV transmissions could conceivably be picked up from planets around nearby stars, but even then, they probably could not be deciphered. Also, it's highly unlikely that a relatively brief transmission like the one Deep Space is offering would stand out amid Earth's continuous broadcast babble.
"We know that SETI is working on securing a good list of contacts, but we didn't feel right about waiting any longer," Buckmaster said in the news release. "Why not just put the service out there, doesn't have to be perfect at first, and let folks respond with feedback on how we can make it better?"