Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Yuri Milner and Papa Oumuamua: a telephone call

Milner: Hi, this is Yuri Milner. Do you hear me? I am calling you through the Green Bank radio telescope in West Virginia.
ET: Of course we hear you. Papa Oumuamua (wiki) speaking. But we don't understand you. In fact, this fact makes it puzzling how we could answer your question at all. Do you speak Russian?

Milner: Yes, I do. Privět. Are you extraterrestrial?
ET: What do you think? If we weren't extraterrestrial, we would call you on that annoying round rock of yours and we wouldn't need three minutes for the answer to go back and forth.
Milner: Mother Russia is no annoying round rock. Have we ever met each other?

ET: We haven't met in person but we know who you are. You're the guy who wants to send the $100 million kite to bombard our friends at Alpha Centauri, right?
Milner: Yes, that's me, Yuri Milner in person. Do you know how I figured out your object is a product of an extraterrestrial industry?
ET: No, honestly, we have no idea. We deliberately picked an object that is as natural as possible – a frozen jet from a natural volcano, 10-to-1 aspect ratio, length of 400 meters, speed near 0.1% of the speed of light. The cigar is full of gold which you should naturally like and there are QR codes for Satoshi Nakamoto's payment of 1 million Bitcoins on the surface. Did something betray us?

Milner: I have watched the Space Odyssey. All long cosmic objects must either be spaceships or prefabricated junk thrown out of spaceships, especially because I don't want my SETI projects to look unsuccessful.
ET: I see, we didn't know that. OK, then, you were right, but it was a coincidence. Do you know why we're flying to Earth?
Milner: Are you flying to Earth? I thought you were just watching us from a distance.
ET: Of course we are. Our cigar-shaped spaceship was designed to perform a gravitational slingshot around the Sun, which you must have found suspicious. We will divide the spaceship to two pieces and one of them will land in Alabama.
Milner: Why Alabama?
ET: Because we don't want to allow the Democrats to take over the Senator's seat. We need to help your friend Putin as well as Moore with the recount.
Milner: Good luck. Where are you from? Is it OK to say that you're from a different star system?
ET: Yes, of course, we're from a different star system, just look at our trajectory. But if you want the people to be more excited about your project, tell them that we're from a different galaxy – because that's even further.
Milner: A good idea, I will. I will ask all my friends in the media to say that you're from a different galaxy, Oumuamua.
ET: Why do you call us Oumuamua if you're in West Virginia? It sounds Hawaii, right? Almost like Waikiki Raga. (The word "ou-mua-mua" means a scout, literally "ReachOut-AsFirst-AsFirst".)

Milner: Because Robert Weryk discovered you on October 19th by a Hawaii telescope.
ET: Can you please keep this telephone call confidential?
Milner: Confidential, are you joking? I have paid $100 million for Breakthrough Listen whose whole point is not to be confidential.
ET: If that's so, we will have to change our plans from a friendly visit to Alabama to a not so friendly visit to California.
Milner: I don't really care about California but OK, I will encrypt this telephone call and keep it in the blockchain. That will make it safe from eavesdropping. You may be sure that no blogger will leak this call today – or ever.
ET: You're so sweet. We will tell our friends at Alpha Centauri not to be afraid of your kite. By the way, did you notice that the shape of our cigar is somewhat similar?
Milner: Yes, I think it's in order to reduce the friction with the interstellar dust, isn't it?
ET: No, we just made a long cigar because it can be created simply by spewing lava from a volcano on a new light planet. The lava gets frozen in the vacuum of the outer space and looks like a long stick.
Milner: My kite is thin because it's a result of the intelligent design, a very intelligent design. At any rate, I am running out of time. See you in Alabama and D.C. I will be at both.
ET: It was nice to spend an hour by talking to you, Yuri.

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