Barcelona festival Sónar turns 25 next year and for the occasion is sending music to outer space.

Sónar Calling GJ273b” is the first-ever radio message to be sent to a nearby potentially habitable exoplanet called GJ273b, also known as Luyten’s Star b. The planet, which is 12.4 light-years from Earth, was chosen because of the possibility of receiving an answer back on Earth in 25 years.

The message includes 33 music pieces of 10 seconds each, commissioned exclusively for Sónar from artists “who encapsulate the Spanish festival exploratory approach to music over its quarter century of existence“. Autechre, Richie Hawtin, Carsten Nicolai, Modeselektor, Laurent Garnier, Holly Herndon, Matmos, Jean Michel Jarre, Nina Kraviz, The Black Madonna, Kate Tempest, Kode 9, Laurel Halo and Daito Manabe are among them (you can listen to these pieces of music here). However, organisers are also looking for at least three members of the public to contribute.

One transmission has already been made to GJ 237b from the EISCAT (European Incoherent SCATter Scientific Association) in Norway and another is scheduled for April.

A quote of the Sónar directors Enric Palau, Sergio Caballero and Ricard Robles: “Sonar Calling GJ273b arises from the innate human Need to communicate and connect. It also attempts to find an answer to a question asked by civilisations throughout history – Are we alone in the universe? At Sónar, we hope we aren’t. Furthermore, given the largely negative impact of humanity on our planet, perhaps this is the best time to reach out to  – hopefully superior – extraterrestrial intelligence to solicit help and advice on what we can do to change things. At a time of global conflict and seemingly insurmountable challenges, Sónar Calling is an attempt to rekindle a sense of global consciousness an a shared reflection on our collective present,  that we hope will lead to new ideas and new partners. Yes, even alien ones.

We are witnessing an exponential increase in our knowledge of planetary systems in the universe and we now know some 10 exoplanets that could be suitable to host life. Of course, we have no clue whether life has thrived on the surface of those planets and if such lifeforms have developed intelligence. But we at IEEC are excited to participate in the experiment of sending an intentional message to the nearby habitable planet GJ273b and wait for a response. If that happened in 25 year’s time, it would certainly be mind-boggling.” commented Ignasi Ribas, director of the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC).

METI is delighted to partner with Sónar for our first transmissions. Sónar is a world leader in exploring the interface of creativity and technology, complementing METI’s emphasis on the science of interstellar communication,” said Douglas Vakoch, president of the Messaging to ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence organization (METI).

The festival, which will run from June 14th through the 16th, will soon unveil the first wave of acts. Stay tuned for more updates!

Don’t forget to grab your tickets here!


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