The makers of the cheesy snack Doritos launched a new competition today, asking the UK public to design a new advert for a unique audience: ETs. The winner's 30-second video clip will actually be beamed from the high frequency radar telescope in Svalbard, Norway, in June, directed toward a likely looking star in Ursa Major. Doritos are calling it the world's first interstellar advertising campaign, and who are we to argue with a claim like that? We do have one question, though, which all humankind should ponder on— is a snack food the best way to advertise intelligent life on Earth?
The winner of the "You Make It, We'll Play It" competition will get the equivalent of US$40,000 and their advert shown on terrestrial TV too. Meanwhile, on June 12th, aided by astronomers from Leicester University, the EISCAT 500Mhz UHF Radar will direct the space-bound advert transmission toward the star 47 Ursae Majoris, which is apparently pretty similar to our Sun and may have habitable planets. How far off is that potential alien audience, you ask? It's (you'll love this) 42 light years away.
Assuming aliens are interested at all in our transmissions, that means that in 42 years time, the signal may be either amusing and confusing alien scientists on another planet, or triggering an incoming invasion of cheese-frenzied extra-terrestrials.