Lexington, Kentucky, a city renowned for its world-class bourbon and picturesque horse country, is reaching out to the stars in an unprecedented move. In a first-of-its-kind initiative, a team of scientists, in collaboration with the advertising firm VisitLex, has launched an interstellar tourism campaign aimed at attracting extraterrestrial visitors.
The team has created a coded message that encapsulates the allure of Lexington, with a particular focus on its most famous export, bourbon. This message has been beamed towards the TRAPPIST-1 star system, which lies approximately 40 light-years away from Earth. The system was chosen due to the presence of seven planets that could potentially support life.
The transmission, sent via infrared lasers, is expected to reach TRAPPIST-1 in 38 years, 262 days, seven hours, nine minutes, and 42 seconds. It’s a long shot, but the team remains hopeful that if there are sentient beings in the TRAPPIST-1 system, they will receive the message within a human lifetime and might even respond.
This ambitious project has not been without controversy. Some scientists, including the late Stephen Hawking, have previously warned about the possible dangers of making contact with extraterrestrial civilizations. Despite these concerns, the Lexington team remains committed to their mission, confident in the potential benefits of establishing intergalactic connections.
The message sent to the stars is more than just an invitation. It’s a snapshot of life on Earth, encompassing music, various languages, sounds of nature, and images. At the heart of this snapshot is bourbon, a spirit deeply intertwined with the history and culture of Lexington.
Bourbon, a type of American whiskey, has a rich history dating back to the 18th century. It’s named after Bourbon County, Kentucky, and the state has long been the heartland of bourbon production. The spirit is known for its distinctive flavor, which comes from the corn-based mash and the oak barrels in which it is matured.
In Lexington, bourbon is celebrated with distillery tours, tastings, and festivals. The city is part of the famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail, attracting thousands of visitors each year who come to enjoy the rich flavors and learn about the history and artistry behind bourbon production.
Indeed, scientists and those at VisitLex hope that future visitors might include those from another planet. Dr Robert Lodder, an expert in computer engineering and the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI) tells the potential alien visitors “Lexington would be a great place to make first contact. You can land your spacecraft here. You can see the Bluegrass. You may even be able to ride a horse, depending on how big you are.”
By including bourbon in their cosmic message, the scientists and VisitLex are not only promoting their city but also sharing a piece of Earth’s cultural heritage. As they wait for a response from TRAPPIST-1, they continue to dream of the day when the green pastures of Lexington might welcome visitors from another world.