The Astronomical Observatory of the University of Valencia (UV) invites ESO, Baccalaureate and Vocational Training (FP) students to participate in the ‘Telegram to a Planet’ contest. It involves composing a graphic message through which to establish “the first contact with a possible alien civilization” on c, a potentially habitable exoplanet 12.5 light years from our Solar System.

The winning message will be launched into space from the antennas of the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA), located at the European Space Astronomy Center of the European Space Agency (ESA) in Madrid. The objective is to publicize the international SETI program to search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Communication with possible extraterrestrial civilizations has been part of the collective imagination for generations and there are many examples that attest to this in both literature and cinema. But also in science. Galileo already wondered if there were living beings on the Moon and the other planets, and researchers of all times and cultures have reflected on the plurality of inhabited worlds. This concern led to the start of the SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) program in the 1970s, which actively searches for signals from other civilizations in the universe, explains the UV.

‘Telegram to a Planet’ is aimed at students from educational centers throughout Spain from the third year of ESO and up to the second year of Baccalaureate and FP (FPB and CCFF GM), directed by a teacher. The contest is a way to help disseminate the SETI program among the educational community; its foundations, methods, protagonists and most notable milestones, as well as to reflect on the possibility of establishing any form of contact with an extraterrestrial civilization. The program is accompanied by a teaching guide to work on the concept of astrobiology in class.

To participate in the contest, you must fill out the registration form and send it before September 29. The deadline to submit the work ends on October 31.

The contest is the result of the collaboration between the Astronomical Observatory (OAUV), the CESAR educational program (ESA/INTA/ISDEFE), the Centro de Astrobiolog√≠a CAB (CSIC-INTA), the Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC) and TV3.