When NASA launched the Voyager 1 probe 26 years ago, the scientists placed a few recordings onboard — including greetings in 55 languages, a message from President Jimmy Carter, and Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” — in case aliens ever intercepted it. Now for a mere $3.99 per minute, you can use a new service, TalkToAliens.com, to send your own personal message to our alien benefactors!

Call 1-900-226-0300, speak your mind, and it will be transmitted into the howling aether by a 10.5-foot parabolic antenna somewhere in the backwoods of Connecticut, pictured above. TalkToAliens.com broadcasts at 2.43211 GHz, which is apparently the most commonly used frequently on Earth — and thus, as the site owners claim, the one that aliens will most likely be aware of if they’re already listening in.

You can also use the service to send a text message of up to 1,000 words for $19.95. More expensive, sure, but they email you a PDF “Certificate of Interstellar Broadcast”, which is “Suitable for Framing”, and includes your name and the first 500 characters of your message.

Of course, this all raises an interesting question of cosmic etiquette: What precisely constitutes an appropriate message to send to extraterrestrials? The site offers some suggestion in its FAQ:

Q. Can I say anything I’d like in my broadcast message?

A. We strongly encourage that you refrain from any profane or indecent language. As mentioned above, it is highly unlikely that anyone here on earth will hear your messages. Even so, it would seem prudent and polite to keep your language respectable. Feel free to speak your mind, sing, chant, rant, etc. to your heart’s content. Be a good “Earth Ambassador” to any civilizations that might be tuned in!

It’s possible this is a media prank, but its total weirdness has the color of truth.

(Thanks to Erik for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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