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Humans are the Twitter trolls of the uni­verse. Earth is that one per­sistent little planet that won’t shut up, and hasn’t shut up, since radio took off almost six decades ago.

Entire orga­ni­za­tions exist solely to contact hypo­thetical alien life. The inter­na­tional group Mes­saging Extrater­res­trial Intel­li­gence is watching for a reply in an obser­vatory located in Michigan.

If that reply ever comes, Earth is unpre­pared and unpro­tected. While Con­gress debates cre­ating a mil­itary branch for space, thou­sands of mes­sages are trav­elling through space — all soggy with a blissful hope for extra­plan­etary peace.  

“Meeting an advanced civ­i­lization could be like Native Amer­icans encoun­tering Columbus. That didn’t turn out so well,” Stephen Hawking said in a 2016 doc­u­mentary.

We feath­erless bipeds have been sending mes­sages to space since the 1960s. The Rus­sians started things off by beaming “LENIN,” “SSSR” (the Russian acronym for the Soviet Union), and “MIR” (“peace” or “world”) in Morse code towards Venus.

That bit of Cold War trivia is cur­rently trav­elling to the Libra con­stel­lation, more than 2,000 light years away, towards a potential pro­le­tariat.

In 1974, famous astronomer Carl Sagan got his chance to say hello with the Arecibo message. Using binary digits, he included Earth’s pop­u­lation of human edibles — and how to get here. That message is heading towards M13, a dense col­lection of stars about 25,000 light years away.

We launched the Golden Record with Voyager 1 in 1977 with its analog-encoded pho­tographs, 55 greetings, and col­lection of sounds. They are now about 13 billion miles away from Earth.

Most of the greetings are loving and hopeful mes­sages, as if the astronomers hoped that sending aggres­sively peaceful mes­sages would inspire peaceful feelings in any recip­ients.

Perhaps the most unfor­tunate was the greeting that invited the aliens to dinner.

“Friends of space, how are you all? Have you eaten yet? Come visit us if you have time,” one message says in the Amoy dialect. One wonders why they didn’t just include a cookbook.

The record also con­tains an engraving of Earth’s delec­tables: Etched on its surface is a drawing of a nude man and pregnant woman — NASA excised photos for modesty’s sake — and another helpful diagram of how to find Earth.

But as famous as the Golden Record is, it is likely to be as effective as a message in a bottle. Even if they do exist, aliens will likely never hear whales singing, humans kissing, and one of Chuck Berry’s songs from his Golden Decade.

That last one raised some objec­tions, namely that it was ado­lescent to try to blast rock music to star system 25,000 light years away.

“There are a lot of ado­les­cents on the planet,” Carl Sagan is reported to have said.

Today his comment seems prophetic. In 2001, the ado­les­cents of the planet wrested control of deep-space com­mu­ni­cation. In what was pop­u­larly known as the “Teenage Message,” Russian teens blared musical tunes to six dif­ferent likely-looking stars.

Not to be outdone, NASA beamed up the Beatles into space, using radio signals to transmit “Across the Uni­verse” towards the North Star in 2008.

That same year, Doritos decided to exploit the extrater­res­trial market. For six hours, Doritos trans­mitted a 30-second adver­tisement towards a hab­itable zone in the Ursa Major con­stel­lation in case E.T. wanted a snack.

“We also shouldn’t be too sur­prised if the first aliens start arriving on planet Earth imme­di­ately demanding a bag of Doritos,” head of the Doritos Broadcast Project Peter Charles said in a statement at the time.

Nor is Doritos alone. Craigslist also sent over 100,000 postings into deep space, offering aliens free kittens, used IKEA fur­niture, and more.

We’ve also sent E.T. a movie, 501 social media mes­sages, and 5,000 internet mes­sages that attempted to “Break the Eerie Silence” with invi­ta­tions to coffee dates, forlorn pleas for friendship or life advice, and a demand that E.T. return a lost Frisbee.  

Aus­tralians have been par­tic­u­larly chatty, sending 25,878 texts to the Libra con­stel­lation.

Now, even aliens have to beware of phishing scams: One of the internet mes­sages reads: “MY PURPOSE OF CONTACTING YOU IS TO SEEK YOUR HELP IN TRANSFERRING THE SUM OF FIVE MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS (USD 5,000,000.00) TO A TRUSTED BANK ON YOUR PLANET.”

Hardly a rousing defense of life on Earth. We are breaking the eerie silence with civilization’s rubbish — and we should stop. What is said cannot be unsaid, and we have no guar­antee that any alien would be inter­ested in friendly con­ver­sation.

If we don’t create a Space Corps, we will be defenseless when E.T. finally comes to kill us just to get some peace and quiet.

Julie Havlak is a senior studying English.