Before long, the project does, indeed, discover the first confirmed communication from extraterrestrial beings, a repeating series of the first 261 prime numbers (a sequence of prime numbers is a commonly predicted first message from alien intelligence, since mathematics is considered a “universal language,” and it is conjectured that algorithms that produce successive prime numbers are sufficiently complicated so as to require intelligence to implement them). Further analysis reveals that a second message is contained in polarization modulation of the signal. The second message is a retransmission of Earth’s first television signal broadcast powerfully enough to escape the ionosphere and be received in interstellar space; in this case, Adolf Hitler‘s opening speech at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. A third message is discovered containing over 30,000 pages describing plans for a machine that appears to be a kind of highly advanced vehicle, with seats for five human beings. But they cannot understand the third message until they find the fourth message, a primer hidden in phase modulation. The primer allows them to translate the alien language to human language.
Contact (novel) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia