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How far do radio signals reach into space?

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CX

posted on Jan, 25 2007 @ 08:23 AM
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Question from someone who is not quite as scientificaly minded as some here....

The radio signals that SETI send out into space, how far do those signals reach or do they just keep going forever until they hit something?

Do they weaken over time or distance, or even dissapear altogether?

I only ask because whilst out walking last night i was looking up into the clearest night sky i've seen for a long time. It got me thinking about this short video about the image taken by the Hubble.

I hear a lot of people talking about the money wasted by SETI and how they should just give up. Talk of how "if there was alien life we'd have found it by now".

When i see this video it makes me wonder how people here on earth can be so naive to think we are alone when this is the furthest we've seen into space, we have evven got to those stars and moons we can see as specs on that image.

Heres the video for those who have'nt seen it, certainly put things into perspective.

Hubble Deep Field

CX.




posted on Jan, 25 2007 @ 08:45 AM
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Radio waves certainly do weaken as they travel over distance. Basically, they follow the inverse square rule. For every doubling of distance, signal strength is one quarter its original strength.

I guess in a sense that they would carry on forever, but at some point, any signal will become indistinguishable from the interstellar background noise. I've seen some estimates that suggest the radio and TV signals we've emitted over the years only travel, at most, a couple of hundred light years before this happens. SETI itself is a passive system that doesn't emit signals.

As for SETI, well, I don't think its a waste, but at the same time, I don't expect it to detect anything. Our technology is likely very primitive to anything another civilization would be using to communicate. I doubt we could even detect it. That said, its the best we've got, and you never know unless you try.



posted on Jan, 29 2007 @ 11:52 PM
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Originally posted by vor78
Our technology is likely very primitive to anything another civilization would be using to communicate.


thats true altohough other civilizations might be smart enough to know our limitations.



posted on Jan, 30 2007 @ 02:09 AM
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I dont think theyre actually looking for a message that we can actually decipher, I think theyre just looking for a particular type of signal that possibly has a pattern to it and then be able to verify it with other systems more than once.
This would allow them to discount static or background noise as the source


Originally posted by Iwasneverhere

Originally posted by vor78
Our technology is likely very primitive to anything another civilization would be using to communicate.


thats true altohough other civilizations might be smart enough to know our limitations.



posted on Jan, 30 2007 @ 07:54 AM
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Unfortunately, the more efficiently a transmission is encoded, the more difficult it is to distinguish from noise.

An advanced civilization probably won't be USING an encoding methodology that isn't one gnat's ass away from white noise by any test you can do.

So unless ET is advertising its presence, you most likely won't be able to find it by looking for patterns. SETI might have found 'arf a million civilizations and not been able to spot them.

I think they also assume that any civilization would be setting up transmitters on the hydrogen line in order to draw attention to themselves. That might be a motivation rooted in human psychology. An ET might instinctively avoid that sort of thing.



posted on Feb, 1 2007 @ 11:31 PM
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Originally posted by Tom Bedlam
Unfortunately, the more efficiently a transmission is encoded, the more difficult it is to distinguish from noise.

An advanced civilization probably won't be USING an encoding methodology that isn't one gnat's ass away from white noise by any test you can do.
ese
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You are quite right. alot of law enforcment agencies(where I live anyway)use a type of encryption over the radio called DVP which means digital voice protection or digital voice privacy. Its a Motorola patent and it is absolutely indistinguishable from static or white noise. So. We obiously already have the capability of "unscrambling" these transmissions. this however does not mean THEY would use the same methods as we do.



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