The search for extraterrestrial life forms has been going on for over a century now on Earth. While we haven't achieved much success in the field, many a time, we have gone closer. During the past century, the scientists had expected to find some kind of life forms on Mars. However, now that we have rovers across the Red Planet, we know that there is nothing of that sort presiding it.
Our galaxy is a large space and on a cosmic level, we haven't really spent enough time looking for our extraterrestrials neighbours. We, as human beings, are quite enthusiastic about finding other life forms in the galaxy. Moreover, we are really curious. It would be great to have company in the deep dark space, isn't it?
However, how are we going to communicate with them if the efforts of our experts come to fruition? What language do they speak? How on Earth, or out of it, are we actually going to converse with them?
First of all, as per the experts, talking might be a little slow process in terms of communication, considering the fact that messages would take more than four years to even reach our neighbouring star system Proxima Centauri from Earth.
Experts, such as famed astrophysicist Carl Sagan, believe that mathematics could come in handy in this case. British scientist Lancelot Thomas Hogben has drafted a language system called Astraglossa, which can be communicated over radio signals. Short pulses, called "dashes," would represent numbers in this process and longer batteries of pulses called, "flashes," would represent mathematical symbols like addition or subtraction, mentions the first steps in celestial syntax, as per CosmicOS.
Once the basics of arithmetic are established between our species and the other one, according to Hogben, we should start a conversation about astronomy, which would likely be a common hobby for both the species.
"Number will initially be our common idiom of reciprocal recognition; and astronomy will be the topic of our first factual conversations," opines Hogben.
Is there any guarantee that our both species would understand each other successfully? Of course, not. While Astraglossa may make sense to Hogben and other human scientists, it could very well just be gibberish to the aliens that we may encounter.
"We could be utterly, completely incomprehensible. There's about 7,000 languages in existence on the planet today. Only about 50% of those have writing systems. So we can't guarantee that [aliens] have writing," said xenolinguist Sheri Wells-Jensen to Senior Astronomer Seth Shostak of SETI Institute on his podcast.
Xenolinguistics is the study of alien languages. It's a hypothetical subject as none have been encountered so far.
"You send out written stuff... and you send out recordings and visuals... maybe including brain recordings of people speaking," said Wells-Jensen.
If that's not enough, back in March 2015, Shostak himself had suggested that we could transmit the entire Internet. "Such a large corpus â with its text, pictures, videos and sounds â would allow clever extraterrestrials to decipher much about our society, and even formulate questions that could be answered with the material in hand. Sending the web on its way would take months if a radio transmitter were used. A powerful laser, conveying bits much like an optical fiber, could launch these data in a few days," Shostak had said to The New York Times.
Surely, more ways to communicate with the extraterrestrial life forms would be invented in the future. We may actually end up having a co-habitat on Earth and on some other distant planet, who knows? However, for that to happen, we first need to find the other species to join the party. In the meantime, do you have any idea as to what should we talk about with the aliens and how?