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Seth Shostak SETI: "We could find Alien Life, but politicians don’t have the will!"

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posted on Aug, 18 2014 @ 02:47 AM
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So, it's just a mere matter of Will.... Seth Shostak director and senior astronomer of the Center for SETI Research launches an hard appeal to the political class so be taken into serious consideration the possibility to acquire instruments capable of detecting intelligent life around us. The Milky Way could be host to tens of billions of Earth’s cousins and in the scientific community there is absolute certainty that life beyond Earth is rampant. theconversation.com...


These scientists support their sunny point of view with a few astronomical facts that were unknown a generation ago.
In particular, and thanks largely to the success of NASA’s Kepler space telescope, we can now safely claim that the universe is stuffed with temperate worlds. In the past two decades, thousands of planets have been discovered around other stars. New ones are turning up at the rate of at least one a day.

More impressive than the tally is their sheer abundance. It seems the majority of stars have planets, implying the existence of a trillion of these small bodies in the Milky Way galaxy alone. A deeper analysis of Kepler data suggests that as many as one in five stars could sport a special kind of planet, one that is the same size as Earth and with similar average temperatures. Such planets, styled as “habitable”, could be swathed by atmospheres and awash in liquid water.

In other words, the Milky Way could be host to tens of billions of Earth’s cousins.

While alien life can be seen nightly on television and in the movies, it has never been seen in space. Not so much as a microbe, dead or alive, let alone a wrinkle-faced Klingon.

Despite this lack of protoplasmic presence, there are many researchers – sober, sceptical academics – who think that life beyond Earth is rampant. They suggest proof may come within a generation. These scientists support their sunny point of view with a few astronomical facts that were unknown a generation ago.

In particular, and thanks largely to the success of NASA’s Kepler space telescope, we can now safely claim that the universe is stuffed with temperate worlds. In the past two decades, thousands of planets have been discovered around other stars. New ones are turning up at the rate of at least one a day.

More impressive than the tally is their sheer abundance. It seems the majority of stars have planets, implying the existence of a trillion of these small bodies in the Milky Way galaxy alone. A deeper analysis of Kepler data suggests that as many as one in five stars could sport a special kind of planet, one that is the same size as Earth and with similar average temperatures. Such planets, styled as “habitable”, could be swathed by atmospheres and awash in liquid water.

In other words, the Milky Way could be host to tens of billions of Earth’s cousins.
Sterile universe?

It is hard to accept that all these worlds are sterile, a circumstance that would make us, and all the flora and fauna of our planet, a miracle. Miracles have little status in science.

Of course, just because there is a lot of attractive, cosmic real estate doesn’t mean finding inhabitants would be easy. There are only three ways to do that, and they all depend on sophisticated and expensive experiments.

[...] First, we could find life nearby. There is real effort to do that, particularly in our reconnaissance of Mars. So far, most of the search has been indirect: deploying rovers whose job is to locate the best places to dig into the red planet, and possibly uncover either fossilised or extant microbes beneath the sterile surface. These are not attempts to find life. They are attempts to find places where life could be found. Progress is deliberate, and it is sluggish.

Without doubt, Mars remains the favourite bet for biology. Nonetheless, some experts prefer to wager on the moons of Saturn and Jupiter. At least five of these satellites seem to be home to some sloshy environments – mostly liquid water, although in the case of Titan, natural gas.

[...] For perspective, consider that the proposed 2015 NASA budget has about US$2.5 billion for planetary science, astrophysics and continued work on the new James Webb space telescope – categories that encompass all the planetary searches described above and more. That is considerably less than one-thousandth of the total US federal budget. The budgets for SETI, which takes the third approach, are a thousand times less.

So it boils down to this: we don’t know for certain that there is life in space, but the circumstances of the universe certainly suggest that this is a plausible idea. Finding it would be extraordinarily exciting, but because the payoff is uncertain, the investments in searching have been modest.

Of course, if you don’t ante up, you will never win the jackpot. And that is a question of will.
edit on 18-8-2014 by Arken because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 18 2014 @ 03:14 AM
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Why find aliens when they can find money?


Good thread! Star and flag!
edit on 18-8-2014 by Yuuma because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 18 2014 @ 03:32 AM
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originally posted by: Yuuma
Why find aliens when they can find money?


Good thread! Star and flag!


You are absolutely right.


I don't support SETI and Seth Shostak that is (in my opinion) only a pale character who poses as a discoverer of aliens...
He is and has always been a pawn in the hands of someone.
He is an ambiguous character who throws smoke in the eyes and trying to support his unsuccessful search that has lasted millennia. As long as there were federal funds and NASA to support his project, there was an oppressive silence from SETI. Now that the money taps are closed, yells to say that you have to give more funds. Precisely for this reason I started this thread.



posted on Aug, 18 2014 @ 05:52 AM
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originally posted by: Yuuma
Why find aliens when they can find money?


Good thread! Star and flag!


One would think they would support the search for alien life. After all they support the aliens pouring into the US.

SETI was originally started by the government. It makes one wonder why they abandoned it. I know cost was the official excuse but maybe they saw info the rest of us thinks exists and is being withheld.



posted on Aug, 18 2014 @ 06:51 AM
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Here is an interesting debate on the pros and cons

If the government found intelligent alien life should they keep the findings a secret?



Yes, if the government found intelligent alien life they should keep it a secret, because the world is not ready to know such things and it would incite riots. People already have enough trouble respecting their fellow humans with a different skin tone. The human reaction to an alien being would not be universally positive, and the last thing Earth needs is to start an intergalactic war, because some crazy religious or racist idiot killed an alien out of blind hatred.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Keeping secrets won't help anyone! Keeping this information secret won't help anyone because if those aliens exist and come to our planet, no one will know what to do.Yes it's true that telling this to the population is dangerous, but it's not that dangerous compared to what people will have to face once those aliens are in front of them. People have more fear of the unknown than anything else. How do you want your children to tell the truth when you are yourself hiding important things? The function of the Government is to help and protect people, instead they keep hiding things and lying! This excuse of not saying anything so as to prevent the population from becoming crazy and scared is ridiculous.The population will be scared anyways so where is the point of hiding?



posted on Aug, 18 2014 @ 07:21 AM
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originally posted by: Arken
As long as there were federal funds and NASA to support his project, there was an oppressive silence from SETI. Now that the money taps are closed, yells to say that you have to give more funds. Precisely for this reason I started this thread.
The NASA project funding ended in 1993, so it seems to me you're about 21 years late in making this thread about the cessation of federal funds and NASA support.

Jill Tartar

Since the termination of funding for NASA’s SETI program in 1993, she has served in a leadership role to secure private funding to continue the exploratory science.
Paul Allen of Microsoft background was a billionaire who supported SETI, and he had a telescope array named after him, which started running in 2007, then shut down in 2011 for lack of funding, then resumed in 2012 thanks to more private funding, but it's a constant battle trying to get private funding for this activity.



posted on Aug, 19 2014 @ 02:57 AM
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originally posted by: Arken

originally posted by: Yuuma
Why find aliens when they can find money?


Good thread! Star and flag!


You are absolutely right.


I don't support SETI and Seth Shostak that is (in my opinion) only a pale character who poses as a discoverer of aliens...
He is and has always been a pawn in the hands of someone.
He is an ambiguous character who throws smoke in the eyes and trying to support his unsuccessful search that has lasted millennia. As long as there were federal funds and NASA to support his project, there was an oppressive silence from SETI. Now that the money taps are closed, yells to say that you have to give more funds. Precisely for this reason I started this thread.





Have you met him? I ask because it sounds like you know a lot about him. I've met him on more than one occasion and even had lunch with him. You couldn't be further from the truth.



posted on Aug, 19 2014 @ 03:02 AM
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originally posted by: Xcathdra

originally posted by: Yuuma
Why find aliens when they can find money?


Good thread! Star and flag!

SETI was originally started by the government.


Actually this is wrong. It was started as a scientific experiment by Frank Drake and others.



It makes one wonder why they abandoned it.


Ignorance.

Google "SETI critic William Proxmire".

Basically he tied the whole thing into silly ideas about UFOs and they lost their funding due to the lack of scientifically literate people in Congress who couldn't separate SETI from the Weekly World News.



posted on Aug, 19 2014 @ 03:07 AM
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Why we should need to look for ETI to begin with doesn't make much sense, at least in the present, assuming they are far technologically our superior, it would be more likely for them to find us through space based telescopes or whatever their version of it is.

If we are talking about microbes on another planet, what is the necessity for this to be revealed?

It's proven it can happen on a planet in the universe, and that they can evolve into intelligence, why do we need another to corroborate?



posted on Aug, 19 2014 @ 03:29 AM
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It's not that the general public might not be ready for such a discovery. I'm starting to think that it's the politicians themselves, who are submerged with their heads into global politics, wars, economy, might not want another complication thrown into all this. What if the discovery of alien life spurs the start of massive global protests against war? Politicians wouldn't want that, would they? Armed conflicts are their bread and butter in swinging political influence around the world.

Hence the reluctance in financing these efforts.



posted on Aug, 19 2014 @ 03:29 AM
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a reply to: JadeStar



Have you met him? I ask because it sounds like you know a lot about him. I've met him on more than one occasion and even had lunch with him. You couldn't be further from the truth.


Hi Jade.

No. Unfortunately not.

What about Seth Shostak? What he told you about the search? What about SETI discoveries during these decades? They found something? He was told to shut up? Or Absolutely nothing, total silence?

edit on 19-8-2014 by Arken because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 19 2014 @ 03:36 AM
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originally posted by: wildespace
It's not that the general public might not be ready for such a discovery. I'm starting to think that it's the politicians themselves, who are submerged with their heads into global politics, wars, economy, might not want another complication thrown into all this. What if the discovery of alien life spurs the start of massive global protests against war? Politicians wouldn't want that, would they? Armed conflicts are their bread and butter in swinging political influence around the world.

Hence the reluctance in financing these efforts.


Agreed!

Extraterrestrial presence means a new paradigm of Energy. It is the new frontier of the human kind.



posted on Aug, 19 2014 @ 10:18 AM
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originally posted by: Arken
a reply to: JadeStar


Have you met him? I ask because it sounds like you know a lot about him. I've met him on more than one occasion and even had lunch with him. You couldn't be further from the truth.




No. Unfortunately not.


Ok.


What about Seth Shostak?


He's a very nice man who legitimately is fascinated by the possibilities of what might be out there. And what impressed me most was he was very open to some of my unique ideas about other search strategies. For instance, I proposed a possible way to look for heavy isotopes in atmospheres of exoplanets to find planets where perhaps nuclear war took place since the biggest limiter in the Drake Equation might be L - the lifespan of the average civilization.


What he told you about the search?


He told me he thinks there is a very good chance that we'll find ET within the next 20 years based things like the Square Kilometer Array coming on line and our ever expanding search strategy, it's not just about radio SETI anymore.

There are searches for everything from large scale artificial structures orbiting other stars to looking for waste heat advanced large scale civilizations to looking for industrial chemicals which can only occur through artificial processes in the atmospheres of exoplanets to looking for laser signals from other stars. Even things like Dr Paul Davies proposed citizen's search through Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter imagery for anomalies which might be of artificial origin and using information theory to analyze dolphin communication, to "Genetic SETI" the search through DNA for potential messages put there by someone else a long time ago.


What about SETI discoveries during these decades?


Nothing so far.


They found something?


Nothing that was persistent and repeated but plenty of anomalies.

BTW: I did post a very good thread about one signal they picked up that was very interesting but because it didn't repeat it could not be ruled out as terrestrial interference.

SEE: ATS - The New "Wow!" Signal - SETI's Recent Close Encounter With An Unidentified Emission


He was told to shut up?


No one told him to shut up, and if they did I doubt he would. Not to mention before anything rose to the level where a hypothetical "dark government agency" would get involved a signal would need to be seen at at least at two different locations on Earth.

SETI is bigger than Seth Shostak. He's just the public face of it along with Jill Tarter. There are plenty of people whose names you probably don't know who are involved in SETI research, even some amateur radio people.

SETI signal verification involves dozens of people so it would be hard for any entity to "shut everyone up".


Or Absolutely nothing, total silence?


Not total silence but nothing that would pass scientific rigor as being definitive proof of an ET signal.

BTW: If you are interested in an alternative SETI scenario which might play out that is based on real people doing real science check out this thread I posted in Aliens & UFOs: Astronomers Detect First 'Clear Signs of Civilization' Beyond Earth - How will you react?
edit on 19-8-2014 by JadeStar because: (no reason given)
edit on 19-8-2014 by JadeStar because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 19 2014 @ 10:25 AM
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originally posted by: Arken

originally posted by: wildespace
It's not that the general public might not be ready for such a discovery. I'm starting to think that it's the politicians themselves, who are submerged with their heads into global politics, wars, economy, might not want another complication thrown into all this. What if the discovery of alien life spurs the start of massive global protests against war? Politicians wouldn't want that, would they? Armed conflicts are their bread and butter in swinging political influence around the world.

Hence the reluctance in financing these efforts.


Agreed!

Extraterrestrial presence means a new paradigm of Energy.


Not necessarily.

Detecting some sort of extraterrestrial presence simply would tell us that life evolved somewhere else and became complex enough to build some sort of technology. It doesn't mean "free energy" or other such fanciful ideas.

Could advanced aliens have access to forms of energy unknown to us? Absolutely.

Would our detection of a signal from 100 light years away necessarily mean we'd have access to that technology? Nope.

edit on 19-8-2014 by JadeStar because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 19 2014 @ 11:40 AM
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a reply to: JadeStar

Thank you Jade.


a first hand report on SETI worth.


Thanks for the links. I already know them, but worth a second read





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