Rashmi Ranjan

While an ambitious new SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) research is underway to learn more about other life forms beyond the Earth, in a first, the Earth has reportedly received an alien signal from Mars.

According to a report published on India Today, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) of the European Space Agency flashed an encoded message to Earth from its orbit around Mars at 9 pm on Wednesday to simulate the reception of a genuine 
communication from another civilization.

The signal hit Earth 16 minutes later, the national media house reported.

“Throughout history, humanity has searched for meaning in powerful and transformative phenomena. Receiving a message from an extraterrestrial civilization would be a profoundly transformational experience for all humankind," India Today reported quoting Daniela de Paulis, the artist behind the 'A Sign in Space' project.

As part of the project, the European probe transmitted the signal, which was received by the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, the Medicina Radio Astronomical Station in Italy, the Allen Telescope Array in California, and the Very Large Array in New Mexico.

"We’re asking individuals and groups to take part in decoding and interpreting the content of the message. The decoding and interpretation process will determine both the technical and cultural content of the message," the project website read.

Notably, de Paulis and her team have designed and encoded the message and it is currently undisclosed. The project has urged people to send in their interpretation of the message.