NEW YORK & WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--National Geographic Channel announced today the launch of a bold new social experiment: to crowdsource a reply from humankind to our intergalactic neighbors. This project provides a long-overdue response to The Wow! Signal, a 72-second mysterious transmission from space detected by SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) exactly 35 years ago.
“If The Wow! Signal really was a cosmic ‘tweet’ from our nearest neighbors, we think it's high time we organized an @reply,” says Christopher Albert, SVP, Global Communications and Talent Relations at National Geographic Channel.
On June 29th from 8PM ET to midnight PT --coinciding with the premiere of the network’s new series, Chasing UFOs-- National Geographic Channel will host a global Twitter event to collect messages from all corners of Planet Earth. All messages tagged with the hashtag #ChasingUFOs will be rolled into a cosmic @reply.
In addition, the network is inviting special VIPs to contribute 72-second video messages as part of the @reply. This collection of curated videos offer a cross section of art, culture and conversation - celebrities, writers, artists, filmmakers, musicians and scientists.
The program culminates on August 15th --the 35th anniversary of The Wow! Signal-- when the tweets and videos will be transmitted into space from Arecibo Observatory, the world’s largest ground-based telescope, and considered by many to be the only facility capable of broadcasting a signal strong enough to be received by an extraterrestrial civilization..
The original Wow Signal was detected from a smaller observatory at Ohio State University in 1977. The signal provided such an extreme burst of energy - exhibiting many of the characteristics expected from potential alien contact - that the researcher who discovered it wrote “Wow!” in the margin (giving the signal it’s unofficial name). Since then, it has continued to be the subject of academic debate, and remains one of the strongest unexplained signals ever detected.
“In Chasing UFOs, we set out to uncover the truth -- investigating and dissecting some of the most mysterious sightings on the planet. Our adventures paint an entirely new picture and will challenge what people believe about life and what’s out there” says Erin Ryder, tech supervisor and one of the three investigators featured in the new series. “This is a perfect social experiment to compliment the launch of the show. I think even if you are skeptical, you might want to think about what to say if we do in fact have alien neighbors!”
The Wow! Reply will capture all tweets using the hashtag #ChasingUFOs that are published from 8pm ET to midnight PT on June 29th, using licensed technology developed by digital artists Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern, who plan to use their platform to send more tweets into space later in the year. Additionally, National Geographic is partnering with the world’s largest and most powerful radar telescope at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico to send the Reply.
For more information, visit www.thewowreply.com.
About Chasing UFOs
Chris Carter’s famous X-Files slogan, “The truth is out there,” is put to the test in National Geographic Channel’s new eight-part series Chasing UFOs, premiering Friday, June 29, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, with a second all-new episode airing at 10 p.m. ET/PT. These real-life “Scullys and Mulders” are not looking for more stories on extraterrestrial activity — they want answers. Erin Ryder is the team’s tech supervisor, and one tough-as-nails female with a passion for adventure. Ben McGee, the lead field researcher, gathers evidence at proposed sites of unexplained occurrences and scientifically determines its origin. And “UFOlogist”, James Fox, is an innovative investigator and documentary producer searching for definitive evidence that can prove we are not alone. Comprising one believer, one skeptic and one undecided, the dynamic team collects video footage of unusual-shaped lights over Arizona, meets with an alleged alien abduction survivor in Colorado and even tracks glowing orbs near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
National Geographic Channels
Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channels US are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Cable Networks. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society’s commitment to exploration, conservation and education with smart, innovative programming and profits that directly support its mission. Launched in January 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) celebrated its fifth anniversary with the debut of NGC HD. In 2010, the wildlife and natural history cable channel Nat Geo WILD was launched, and in 2011, the Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels have carriage with all of the nation’s major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with NGC currently available in 83 million U.S. homes. Globally, National Geographic Channel is available in 435 million homes in 173 countries and 37 languages. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com.
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50309755&lang=en