Talking to Aliens?!

In 1961, nine of the smartest individuals in the United States received a rather unusual letter in the mail. It consisted of a long string of binary digits and a short message: “Here is a hypothetical message received from outer space. It contains 551 zeros and ones. What does it mean?” Neither the sender nor his recipients knew it at the time, but this letter would later serve as the prototype for the first message for extraterrestrial intelligence ever broadcast into space. Its initial test run on Earth, however, was a total failure.