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Kentucky city beckons space alien visitors by beaming laser invitation toward nearby star


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Is the truth about aliens out there? One town wants to find out. 

A community in Kentucky has come up with an unusual approach to promoting tourism – the world's first interstellar tourism campaign. 

The Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau is using an infrared laser to send a message into space to invite extraterrestrial travelers to visit the city. 

"Aliens, if you’re out there, greetings! This is your guide to experiencing the Horse Capital of the Galaxy. We think it’s well worth the 235 trillion-mile trip," the bureau wrote in a statement. 

The idea for the campaign came from recent UFO revelations and advances in deep space imaging that have fueled the belief that we are not alone in the universe, the visitors bureau continued in a statement this month announcing the move.

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"This campaign has generated two billion impressions thus far, and several thousand visits to the Extraterrestrial’s Guide to Lexington. Web traffic to VisitLEX is up nearly 50% over the same period last year," a spokesperson for the agency told Fox News Digital. 

None of those impressions came from beyond Earth, so far. 

The agency added it had worked with scientists and scholars to beam the message toward potentially habitable planets in the TRAPPIST-1 solar system 40 light years away. That may sound far, but in galactic terms it's right in the neighborhood – the Milky Way Galaxy is more than 100,000 light years across, according to NASA.

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The alien invitation effort was led by Lexington native Robert Lodder, who is an expert in computer engineering, astrobiology, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

"We brought together experts in engineering, linguistics, digital media, philosophy, and science fiction to design, debate, and transmit this message," he said in the statement.

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The message was sent with FAA approval and has a coded bitmap image.

"The bitmap image is the key to it all," linguistics expert Dr. Andrew Byrd explained. "We included imagery representing the elements of life, our iconic Lexington rolling hills, and the molecular structure for water, bourbon, and even dopamine … because Lexington is fun!"

However, experts stated it could take a while to get an answer. The agency says it will take 40 years to get to its intended target and could take another 40 to receive any response.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. 

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