SETI To Make Contact Within 25 Years

almond13

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Oct 21, 2005
Messages
714
Likes
7
Points
34
#61
Much as it would be hard to imagine the world of today without the microchip, ET technology would have a major impact on our daily lives.
We already have alien technology, what about the Dyson?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#62
almond13 said:
Much as it would be hard to imagine the world of today without the microchip, ET technology would have a major impact on our daily lives.
We already have alien technology, what about the Dyson?

It's crap - the Henry is much much better. Ask any cleaner.

Also, the Henry is a nice bright friendly orange with eyes that watch you.... :shock:
 

Hieru

Junior Acolyte
Joined
Dec 4, 2005
Messages
62
Likes
1
Points
22
#63
As a Fortean I would like to compare the performance of both brands of appliance, evaluating performance under various conditions.

It may also be worth looking at how certain variables may affect performance, such as full moons, Friday the 13th or the Summer solstice.

You could also compare performance of such devices before and after prayer, or perhaps after some kind of Voodoo ritual ;)

Obviously the above is all meant in jest, but in all seriousness, the Henry isn't all its cracked up to be. It's fine for industrial mess, but as a domestic cleaner it sucks (not in a good way). Alien or not, the Dyson is however a fantastic piece of equipment and other brands/designs are pathetic by comparison..........curses not withstanding.
 

eburacum

Papo-furado
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
3,281
Likes
1,235
Points
169
#64
Dyson cleaners were developed by an ancient alien race to clean Dyson spheres. Of course you need a very long extension...
 

wembley8

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jan 24, 2003
Messages
1,998
Likes
7
Points
69
#65
lemonpie3 said:
Aliens. Interesting. Anyway who's up for eviction off Big Brother this week? And HOW THIN is Victoria Beckham??? OMG have you seen Keira Knightly in that dress?????
Quite!...I think people who are interested in stuff like aliens fail to realise just how uninteresting everyone else finds it. You may think space exploration is wonderful, but look in W H Smith and you'll find about two astronomy magazines and two hundred on the sex lives of the latest Love Island/Big Brother ejectees, Jordan's boobs latest, Paris Hilton's pregnancy etc.

The aliens just aren't going to make a ripple in the public consciousness unless they can annihilate a few cities with a great show of special effects, or morph themselves into aspiring starlets.
 

almond13

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Oct 21, 2005
Messages
714
Likes
7
Points
34
#66
You may think space exploration is wonderful, but look in W H Smith and you'll find about two astronomy magazines and two hundred on the sex lives of the latest Love Island/Big Brother ejectees, Jordan's boobs latest, Paris Hilton's pregnancy etc.
Yes, it’s a sad comment on the state of mankind, the culture of the celeb’.
They are there showing us that they have what we don’t – fame and fortune - and also their screwed up personal lives. They even have the cheek to appear on talk shows and spout their homespun philosophies. If that’s what you want, then fine.
A clown once said, “I’m paid to be a fool. You pay to see a fool. Who’s the bigger fool?
Personally, I may be in the gutter but I’m looking at the stars
– not the celeb’s. :p
 

Hieru

Junior Acolyte
Joined
Dec 4, 2005
Messages
62
Likes
1
Points
22
#67
I find it odd that people think that ET contact etc would receive such a luke-warm response.

Not only do most countries have fervent responces to illegal immegrants, but throughout the 20th C people have used this has an excuse for war.

The issue of illegal immegration receives such a provocative responce, that I cannot even imagine how people would respond to alien visitors.

Although current poular culture is obsessed with celebrity, I doubt that ET contact would be relegated to the 'and now finally' section of the news.

Actual ET contact, such as the steriotypical saucer on the White House lawn, would reek havock.................for a while.

Religeous nuts would scramble for explanation in scripture, cults would rise from the confusion, but most would accept such visitors as curious travellors. Let's just hope we offer a better reception than captain Cook received.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2004
Messages
4,442
Likes
3,156
Points
184
Location
Norwich.
#68
Most of the fuss about immigrants is based around the assumption that they are a drain on our resources. I imagine the tabloids would get pretty heated if extraterrestrials tried to claim Jobseeker's Allowance or were given council houses.
 

Hieru

Junior Acolyte
Joined
Dec 4, 2005
Messages
62
Likes
1
Points
22
#70
graylien said:
I imagine the tabloids would get pretty heated if extraterrestrials tried to claim Jobseeker's Allowance or were given council houses.
That makes me want to do a Dom Jolly type skit, don a greylian costume and join a dole que. Brilliant! :lol:
 

almond13

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Oct 21, 2005
Messages
714
Likes
7
Points
34
#71
The issue of illegal immegration receives such a provocative responce, that I cannot even imagine how people would respond to alien visitors.

Although current poular culture is obsessed with celebrity, I doubt that ET contact would be relegated to the 'and now finally' section of the news.
And now finally, news has just come in about a Rotherham man who claims his alien neighbour assaulted him with an anal probe. A spokesman from The Commission for Racial Equality said, ”Probing is part of their culture and not an offence”.
 

lupinwick

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Sep 24, 2005
Messages
1,645
Likes
2
Points
54
#73
And a little bit more on SETI.

The switch has been thrown on a telescope specifically designed to seek out alien life.

Funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen the finished array will have 350 6m antennas and will be one of the world's largest.

The Allen Telescope Array (ATA) will be able to sweep more than one million star systems for radio signals generated by intelligent beings.

Its creators hope it will help spot definite signs of alien life by 2025.

First light

The ATA is being run by the SETI Institute and the Radio Astronomy Laboratory from the University of California, Berkeley.

"For SETI, the ATA's technical capabilities exponentially increase our ability to search for intelligent signals, and may lead to the discovery of thinking beings elsewhere in the universe," said Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute in a statement.

On 11 October the first 42 dishes of the array started gathering data that will be analysed for signs of alien life and help with conventional radio astronomy.

The first test images produced by the array are radio maps of the Andromeda Galaxy and the Triangulum Galaxy.
Source
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,810
Likes
20,865
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#74
In this case its an Earth ship but it shows that SETI could track spaceships.

SETI Radio Telescopes Track New Horizons
www.spacedaily.com/reports/SETI_Radio_T ... s_999.html
The Allen Telescope Array (ATA).
by Staff Writers

Laurel MD (SPX) Nov 10, 2008
The New Horizons spacecraft has a new "audience" for the electronic signals it beams back to Earth. In a successful September demonstration of its growing capabilities, the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) detected transmissions from New Horizons while the spacecraft was more than a billion miles from home.
The ATA is a radio interferometer used for astronomical research and searches for signals of intelligent, extraterrestrial origin. A joint effort of the SETI Institute and the Radio Astronomy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, it's being constructed at the Hat Creek Radio Observatory in Northern California.

The SETI Institute routinely observes spacecraft such as New Horizons, which serve as an excellent test signal for confirming the correct functioning and effectiveness of the SETI signal-detection systems.

"We look forward to checking in with New Horizons as a routine, end-to - end test of our system health," says Jill Tarter, director of the Institute's Center for SETI Research.

"As this spacecraft travels farther, and its signals grow weaker, we will be building out the Allen Telescope Array from 42 to 350 antennas, and thus can look forward to a long-term relationship."

For the New Horizons observation, made Sept. 10, operators used a synthesized beam formed with 11 of the array's 6.1-meter (20 foot) antennas - a method called "beamforming" that electronically combines the antennas into a single virtual telescope. The 8.4-GHz spacecraft carrier signal was then fed into the SETI Prelude detection system.

"We're happy to be the ATA's new friend in the sky, helping SETI to verify the operations of their electronics," says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern. "It's also nice to know that someone else is checking in on us during our long voyage to Pluto and beyond."
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,245
Likes
8,973
Points
284
#75
Seti: The hunt for ET
Scientists have been searching for aliens for 50 years, scanning the skies with an ever-more sophisticated array of radio telescopes and computers. Known as Seti, the search marks its half-century this month. Jennifer Armstrong and Andrew Johnson examine its close – and not so close – encounters
Sunday, 27 September 2009

1. Seti stands for the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence.

2. If intelligent aliens are out there, Dr Seth Shostak, the Seti Institute's senior astronomer, believes they will be "thinking machines". He believes a highly advanced species will be several centuries ahead of us in technological development.

3. Professor Duncan Forgan, an astronomer from Edinburgh University, estimates that between 360 and 38,000 life forms capable of interstellar communications have evolved at some point in the history of our galaxy.

4. In April 2006, Dr Shostak predicted we would find evidence of extraterrestrial life between 2020 and 2025. He believes the best way of bringing them up to speed with the human race is to send them the contents of the internet.

5. So far, no alien signals have been heard, however.

6. It was a September 1959 article in the journal Nature that persuaded the scientific community that, despite the unlikely aliens found in the era's Cold War-inspired UFO films, alien intelligence was more likely than not, so kick-starting the Seti project.

etc....

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/scien ... 93984.html
 

Timble2

Imaginary Person
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Messages
5,783
Likes
1,320
Points
234
Location
In a Liminal Zone
#76
rynner2 said:
....

4. In April 2006, Dr Shostak predicted we would find evidence of extraterrestrial life between 2020 and 2025. He believes the best way of bringing them up to speed with the human race is to send them the contents of the internet.
etc....

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/scien ... 93984.html


One look at the contents of the internet and they'll shut down communications and flee the Galaxy....
 

KarlD

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jun 6, 2009
Messages
307
Likes
8
Points
24
#77
Well much as i think that the bullshit about aliens being here spying on us already I am involved in a project called optical seti, I designed an instrument which looks for flashes of lasar light in the sky and tries to determine any signal which might be present in those flashes, the idea is that its much more sensible and cheaper for your chatty alien to set up a beacon which transmits ultra powerful lasar signals rather than radio signals.
I did this design for a university group sort of connected to seti.
The problem is of course that any signal we seen has probably been travelling across the galaxy for millions of years for so if we do ever see a signal you can be pretty sure that the civilisation which sent it died out long ago.
 

Cavynaut

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Apr 10, 2003
Messages
2,323
Likes
668
Points
144
#78
KarlD said:
The problem is of course that any signal we seen has probably been travelling across the galaxy for millions of years for so if we do ever see a signal you can be pretty sure that the civilisation which sent it died out long ago.
Why?
 

KarlD

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jun 6, 2009
Messages
307
Likes
8
Points
24
#79
Cavynaut said:
KarlD said:
The problem is of course that any signal we seen has probably been travelling across the galaxy for millions of years for so if we do ever see a signal you can be pretty sure that the civilisation which sent it died out long ago.
Why?
Well basically if we can assume anything at all about aliens then we must assume that they work on the same genetic principles as life on earth does, and you can show that as Earth based species get more complex then they tend to survive as a species for shorter periods of time due to a lack of new genetic input, so the species stagnates if you like. Current estimates suggest that the human genome should get seriously screwed in about 4 million years which seems about the average for a complex organism.
Then you have the problem of any civilisation sending messages going though the same stage as us of canstantly wanting to blow the planet up,.then you have problems of stuff like the only example we can draw from which is humans, do not show any signs of being able to invest in such a large scale project as setting up a deep space signalling system so how old does a civilisation have to be before it does that ? Is it very likely that humans will ever reach that stage and I think the answer is clearly no.
Even if you have civilisations popping up all the time, the chances of any two being close enough to each other in terms of both distance and the lifetime of that civilisation are exceedingly remote.
 

Cavynaut

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Apr 10, 2003
Messages
2,323
Likes
668
Points
144
#80
When copying/pasting from another site, it's considered good manners to include a link.
 

KarlD

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jun 6, 2009
Messages
307
Likes
8
Points
24
#81
Cavynaut said:
When copying/pasting from another site, it's considered good manners to include a link.
Sorry? was that aimed at me? if it was then I havent copied anything from another site.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,810
Likes
20,865
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#83
Why hasn't ET made contact yet?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters ... -yet.shtml
Jonathan Amos | 17:53 UK time, Monday, 25 January 2010

He's absolutely convinced. Frank Drake has been scouring the sky for 50 years, looking for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.

He's heard nothing... but he's in no doubt they're out there.

Drake was a founder-member of Seti, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

Since 1960, this activity has been pointing radio telescopes at the stars hoping to receive some indication - perhaps even a message - that an advanced alien lifeform exists elsewhere in our galaxy.

Many of us have been involved directly in this search by allowing Seti to use downtime on our PCs to crunch the radio data for any interesting signals.

Frank Drake himself has been in London this week to attend the Royal Society's discussion meeting - The Detection of Extraterrestrial Life and the Consequences for Science and Society.

The scientist is most famous for the equation that bears his name.

Drake's Equation is an attempt to express the potential number of intelligent civilizations that might exist in the Milky Way.

The number is dependent on several factors, such as the scale of star formation, the presence of planets around those stars that might harbour life capable of sophisticated communication, and the length of time over which any evolved species would be able to get in touch.

Remember, although we've existed as a species for at least 200,000 years, it's only in the last 100 years that we've developed the technology necessary to send messages into space.

There are a lot of assumptions in this game but when Drake plugs numbers he describes as conservative into his own equation, he comes out with a figure of 10,000 civilizations.

It sounds a lot until you consider there are at least 200 billion stars in the Milky Way.

So, here's one reason why we've not heard a dickybird out of ET yet: our searches so far have been puny compared with the scale effort that would be required to do a thorough audit of the Milky Way.

Talking with Drake today, he also raises another complicating factor:

"In searching for extraterrestrial life, we are both guided and hindered by our own experience. We have to use ourselves as a model for what a technological civilisation must be, and this gives us guidance for what technologies might be present in the Universe.

"At the same time, this limits us because we are well aware that all the technologies that might be invented have not been invented; and in using ourselves as a model, we may not be paying attention to alternatives, as yet undiscovered and as yet unappreciated by us."
In other words, we've been listening for extraterrestrials' radio signals but this may not be how they're trying to announce their presence.

It's one of the reasons why Seti, in the last few years, has also started to look for the optical flashes that might originate from powerful alien lasers systems.

Drake raises another fascinating issue - and that is that we ourselves are becoming invisible to the extraterrestrials searching for us.

The signals emanating from Earth most likely to reach distant civilisations are our TV broadcasts. But the switchover from analogue to digital television means "our voice" is being diminished.

Part of this is down to the TV satellites which deliver targeted beams to the Earth's surface; and also to cable TV which runs direct to the home underground. Both don't "bleed" as much into space as the old high-power analogue TV transmitters; and the digital signal itself requires a good deal more sophistication to interpret it.

Drake says this may mean in future we have to establish a dedicated system of beacons to broadcast our presence.

"There are people who're saying we should be running a beacon - a simple message that we send to one star after another, pointing out that we exist.

"When you think about that, you quickly reach the conclusion that there should be two beacons - one that's easy to detect and has only the information on it that tells you what radio frequency you should tune to to get the other beacon with a great deal more information.

"Right now, we don't have to do this because we're sending all this information through our television, but when the Earth goes quiet it makes much more sense."
I'm fascinated by people's reactions to this search - whether it has any point, and what we'd do if we got a contact.

Would we be filled with fear or excitement? How should we initiate a dialogue, knowing a reply might not come back for hundreds of years because of the light-travel between our two locations?

Or would shocked and scared earthlings immediately want to "hang up" as if to say "sorry, wrong number"?
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,245
Likes
8,973
Points
284
#84
Royal astronomer: 'Aliens may be staring us in the face'
Aliens may be “staring us in the face” in a form humans are unable to recognise, the Queen’s astronomer has said.
By Heidi Blake
Published: 7:25AM GMT 22 Feb 2010

Lord Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society and astronomer to the Queen, said the existence of extra terrestrial life may be beyond human understanding.

He made the remarks shortly after hosting the national science academy’s first conference on the possibility of alien life.

They could be staring us in the face and we just don’t recognise them. The problem is that we’re looking for something very much like us, assuming that they at least have something like the same mathematics and technology,” he said.

“I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can’t conceive. Just as a chimpanzee can’t understand quantum theory, it could be there as aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains.”

Lord Rees used the conference in January, entitled The Detection of Extra-terrestrial Life and the Consequences for Science and Society, to ask whether the discovery of aliens would cause terror or delight on earth.

He told Prospect magazine that improved telescopes made the chance of finding extra-terrestrial life “better than ever”.

But Dr Frank Drake, the world’s leading “ET hunter”, told the conference that satellite TV and the “digital revolution” was making humanity invisible to aliens by cutting the transmission of TV and radio signals into space.

At present, the Earth is surrounded by a 50 light year-wide "shell" of radiation from analogue TV, radio and radar transmissions. But although the signals have spread far enough to reach many nearby star systems, they are rapidly vanishing in the wake of digital technology, according to Dr Drake.

The scientist, who founded the Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence organisation in the United States, said digital TV signals would look like noise to a race of observing aliens.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/spac ... -face.html
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,245
Likes
8,973
Points
284
#85
A long article (5 pages), but interesting and amusing:

Is there anybody out there?
Scientists believe there could be 10,000 civilisations in our galaxy and millions are being spent trying to find them
“As we look forward to the next 50 years of Seti,” says Vakoch, “we should be thinking about alternative strategies and start transmitting messages. Doing those things takes generations and it would be nice to start now.”

The trouble is: what do we say? Obviously nothing too provoking — they might get angry. Seth Shostak argues we should say everything and let the aliens work it out. “My suggestion is that we just take the Google servers and send the whole internet. People say there’d be a lot of pornography, but that’s human too!”
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/s ... t=0&page=1
 

amester

Devoted Cultist
Joined
May 29, 2004
Messages
226
Likes
5
Points
34
#86
I wonder if extraterrestrials would use the same technology as us (ie TV, radio) or if they have wholly different ways of communication.
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,245
Likes
8,973
Points
284
#88
So what would YOU say to ET?
A Telegraph competition to see what messages Earthlings want to send to extraterrestrials has produced some shocking results, says Robert Colvile.
Published: 7:00AM GMT 09 Mar 2010

Over the years, there have been many explanations for why alien life forms – if they exist – have failed to make contact with the Earth. But after extensive research, The Daily Telegraph can unveil the real reason: they have far too much good sense.

A month ago, we helped launch a competition to find the best messages to be sent hurtling into space, in order to mark the 50th anniversary of the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) programme and the publication of The Eerie Silence: Are We Alone in the Universe?, a new book by the astrophysicist, Paul Davies. The winning entries will be announced this Friday (the first day of National Science and Engineering Week), and then beamed out into the stars from BT’s Goonhilly Earth Station in Cornwall.

We were vaguely expecting the entries to be uplifting and spiritual – messages of interstellar peace and love, that sort of thing. But how wrong we were! Almost 1,000 suggestions came flooding in from all over the globe, but they painted a picture of a planet that is such a miserable place to be that you wouldn’t blame ET for legging it back to his distant star.

For what would he learn about mankind? First, that we are vicious, creatures who have already done a great job of wrecking our home. “Please kill us now … have no mercy,” urged a gentleman from Indiana. “We are evil and you must defend yourself.”

“Keep away from this planet,” agreed Pamela from Sicily. “Mankind is only intent on depleting, abusing and destroying [it]. They will do the same to yours should they find it. Mankind is the worst virus in the universe. You have been warned.”

Nick from Calne was equally blunt: “If you manage to work out how to travel to us, don’t bother, as we’ll probably probe you, try to blow you up or worse still, steal your technology and invade… Have a nice day.”

Rob from Georgia, meanwhile, was prepared to throw the rest of mankind to the lions: “Dearest Aliens, If you choose to conquer Earth, please do not kill or enslave those of us who can name all 12 men to have walked on the Moon. We are the ones worth keeping around.”

Seema from Elgin had a compelling reason for ET not to bother with us: “If you’re planning to visit our planet, please know you will need to remove all metal from your person, take your shoes off and submit to a full body scan, carry all liquids/gels/aerosols in clear plastic bottles no bigger than 3.4oz, surrender all cigarette lighters and batteries, pack all jams and jellies (but pies can be carried on)… Oh, yes. Welcome to the Earth!”

As if all that negativity wasn’t off-putting enough, another theme came through loud and clear from the entries: even those elements of humanity that aren’t genocidal are terrifically needy. “Come and say hello!” begged Doug from Dublin. “You have already made our mistakes ages ago, come and tip us off and save us a lot more grief!”

“There are billions of us, yet we feel utterly alone,” lamented Stacey from Calgary. “We strive to find the meaning in our lonely lives, and maybe you can help us. Call soon.”

A more practical approach was taken by Gary from Dagenham: “Sorry to drop this on you, but we’ve kinda wrecked our planet. Any chance we could come live with you? We’ve got beer.”

Strangely, even those who could see the good in humanity wanted to warn our extraterrestrial neighbours about one particular element within it. “Whatever our governments may have done on behalf of human beings,” said Joshua from California, “we common humans deeply apologise.”

“Whatever you do,” agreed Richard from Texas, “stay away from Washington DC. No intelligent life there.”

Michael from Hawaii was equally firm: “Save yourself! Stay away! We have politicians!” And Marianne from Devon put a British slant on this theme: “I am a pacifist, but if the Tories win the election then please launch a violent attack with immediate effect. It’d be for our own good.”

Is humanity a lost cause, then? Perhaps not. Certainly, our entrepreneurial spirit remains. One correspondent was keen to get his hands on a faster-than-light spacecraft: “Must be free, in excellent condition, lifetime warranty and lifetime supply of fuel, maintenance and life-sustaining essentials. English-language manual a must.” “For sale or trade,” Andrew from Alberta was hustling hard. “Several billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. All reasonable offers considered! Must pick up, cannot ship.”

Karen from Nailsea was thinking slightly bigger: “Beautiful, blue planet, teeming with life, located on the edge of the Milky Way. Fantastic views of the Andromeda Galaxy and beyond into infinity. Perhaps the best location in the Universe. One trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion ONO. Must be prepared to look after current resident flora and fauna.”

Still, the prize for ingenuity went to Thomas from Abu Dhabi, who is no doubt hoping that aliens are unfamiliar with spam email: “My purpose of contacting you is to seek your help in transferring the sum of five million United States dollars ($5,000,000) to a trusted bank on your planet.”

etc...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/spac ... to-ET.html
:D :D :D
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,810
Likes
20,865
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#89
Stingy aliens may call us on cheap rates only

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn1 ... -only.html

In alien civilisations, do accountants have the upper hand? If so, our strategy for searching for extraterrestrials could be misguided.

A new study suggests that cost-effective galactic radio transmissions would be at higher frequencies than SETI projects traditionally monitor, and ET's attempts to make contact would be only few and far between.

"If ET was building cost-effective beacons, would our searches have detected them? The answer turns out to be no," says James Benford, president of the company Microwave Sciences in Lafayette, California.
Cosmic water hole

Aliens wishing to communicate would probably broadcast at frequencies between 1 and 10 gigahertz, where there is less astronomical background noise than in other wavebands. Most SETI projects tune in to the "cosmic water hole" waveband between 1.42 and 1.72 gigahertz. The reasoning goes that alien astronomers might expect earthly scientists to be looking there anyway as this is the frequency of radiation emitted by interstellar hydrogen and hydroxyl clouds.

But this fails to consider the cost to aliens. "Societies are always constrained by their resources," Benford points out. "Why did cathedrals take centuries to build? Partly because they had only so many artisans, but also their capital was limited."

Benford's analysis of the economics of extraterrestrial beacons with his brother Gregory at the University of California, Irvine, and son Dominic at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland suggests that aliens would choose to transmit at nearer to 10 gigahertz, as this makes it easier and cheaper to create a powerful beam.
Little and often

Short pulses rather than a continuous signal would also enable frugal aliens to use small and cheap transmitters. Small transmitters can beam out powerful radiation using high voltages – but only if they broadcast brief pulses that don't give the electric fields time to discharge.

Benford concludes that frugal aliens would swing a pulsed microwave beam across the disc of the Milky Way, where most of our galaxy's stars reside. "They wouldn't want to target individual stars: there are far too many of them," he says. "Instead, they'd build a powerful beacon, then swing that beacon around and repeat it."

He calculates that aliens could use a dish antenna 0.9 kilometres wide to sweep a beam across the Milky Way's disc once a year, broadcasting a single 35-second blast of microsecond pulses to all the stars within 1080 light years.

If aliens did follow that strategy, their signals would not repeat for many months. "Astronomers have seen some unexplained signals that lasted for tens of seconds then were never seen again," says Benford. "Some of those could have been extraterrestrial beacons but there wasn't enough observing time to wait for any repeats." He urges astronomers to look through their archives for any signals that might fit the bill.

Journal references: Astrobiology, DOI: 10.1089/ast.2009.0393 and 10.1089/ast.2009.0394
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,245
Likes
8,973
Points
284
#90
Alien hunters 'should look for artificial intelligence'
By Jason Palmer, Science and technology reporter, BBC News

A senior astronomer has said that the hunt for alien life should take into account alien "sentient machines".

Seti, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, has until now sought radio signals from worlds like Earth.

But Seti astronomer Seth Shostak argues that the time between aliens developing radio technology and artificial intelligence (AI) would be short.

Writing in Acta Astronautica, he says that the odds favour detecting such alien AI rather than "biological" life.

Many involved in Seti have long argued that nature may have solved the problem of life using different designs or chemicals, suggesting extraterrestrials would not only not look like us, but that they would not at a biological level even work like us.

However, Seti searchers have mostly still worked under the assumption - as a starting point for a search of the entire cosmos - that ETs would be "alive" in the sense that we know.

That has led to a hunt for life that is bound to follow at least some rules of biochemistry, live for a finite period of time, procreate, and above all be subject to the processes of evolution.

But Dr Shostak makes the point that while evolution can take a large amount of time to develop beings capable of communicating beyond their own planet, technology would already be advancing fast enough to eclipse the species that wrought it.

"If you look at the timescales for the development of technology, at some point you invent radio and then you go on the air and then we have a chance of finding you," he told BBC News.

"But within a few hundred years of inventing radio - at least if we're any example - you invent thinking machines; we're probably going to do that in this century.

"So you've invented your successors and only for a few hundred years are you... a 'biological' intelligence."

From a probability point of view, if such thinking machines ever evolved, we would be more likely to spot signals from them than from the "biological" life that invented them.


John Elliott, a Seti research veteran based at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK, says that Dr Shostak is putting on a firmer footing a feeling that is not uncommon in the Seti community.

"You have to start somewhere, and there's nothing wrong with that," Dr Elliott told BBC News.

"But having now looked for signals for 50 years, Seti is going through a process of realising the way our technology is advancing is probably a good indicator of how other civilisations - if they're out there - would've progressed.

"Certainly what we're looking at out there is an evolutionary moving target."

Both Dr Shostak and Dr Elliott concede that finding and decoding any eventual message from such alien thinking machines may prove more difficult than in the "biological" case, but the idea does provide new directions to look.

Dr Shostak says that artificially intelligent alien life would be likely to migrate to places where both matter and energy - the only things he says would be of interest to the machines - would be in plentiful supply. That means the Seti hunt may need to focus its attentions near hot, young stars or even near the centres of galaxies.

"I think we could spend at least a few percent of our time... looking in the directions that are maybe not the most attractive in terms of biological intelligence but maybe where sentient machines are hanging out."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11041449
 
Top