I'm looking for creative people with knowledge of radio waves and space flight to help me out.
I'm currently writing a screenplay about a spacecraft that is basically a radio antenna in space. The story I made up is about a radio telescope that was launched after the earth received something that resembled an alien transmission. To further investigate this signal, mankind sent a spacecraft to the end of our solar system where the reception would be optimal. After sixteen years of tracking this signal the message still isn't deciphered. The thing they overlooked was that the solar wind at the end of the heliosphere interrupted the transmission, which made it impossible to collect all the data.
It's only at the end of the movie that they suddenly discover that the transmission becomes audible when the spacecraft itself sends larger amounts of information back to earth. Suddenly it's clear that this "alien message" is some form of a long delayed echo. All this time they were receiving their own broadcast and listening to a reflection of themselves.
I did a lot of research, but I'm afraid I'm still a nobody on the issue of radio waves. So I'm not only looking for someone to disprove the whole idea, but it would be of great help if that someone could help me find a more scientifically correct version of the essentials (namely: a spacecraft receives an vague echo of their own radio transmissions and mistook it for an alien message).
There are a lot of things I'm uncertain about here:
Is there any way that it would be logical to launch a radio telescope into space to receive a signal?
Is it possible that the antenna of the spacecraft has to be adjusted all the time to "track" the signal? (something I felt was needed in the script)
Can a radio message from aliens be very faint and distorted (for example by solar winds at the end of the heliosphere)?
Can we in any plausible way confuse our own broadcast with a message from outer space? (I read about long delayed echoes and such...)
And most importantly:
- Would you buy this premise for a scifi-movie? If not: any thoughts on how you would reprocess the poetics of this idea in a more realistic way?