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Any sufficiently advanced technology will be indistinguishable from magic.
The quest of SETI astronomers, however, is not just for the discovery of an Earth-like planet but for life intelligent enough to transmit meaningful signals across vast stretches of space. For more than 40 years, they have been doggedly searching for alien transmissions via radio telescope, tracking tens of millions of radio signals across different sections of the night sky, but so far the results have been, by any scientific standard, dismal.
There has been a handful of false alarms - the detection of short, intense bursts of electromagnetic energy that might be transmitted by an advanced civilisation - but these have been later shown to be caused by other cosmic phenomena, such as quasars.
The belief that an alien civilisation might also be listening to our television and radio signals has also been dashed by the recent discovery that the signals don't, as once thought, reach into deep space: they eventually become so weak that they disappear in the roar of the electromagnetic noise.
That is partly why the OZ OSETI (o for optical) project and a handful of its US counterparts have turned to laser pulse technology in what is the most ambitious effort yet to detect a signal from an alien species. "For an advanced civilisation, radio wave technology would be old hat," Bhathal says. "My strong feeling is that if there are (extraterrestrial intelligence) civilisations out there, they will send the signal by laser pulses or laser flashes."
In 2000, science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, a former patron of the Australian SETI project, advised Bhathal to "let the better spectrum, light" drive his search for ET. Bhathal's OZ OSETI project is the only dedicated project for searching for ET in the optical spectrum in the southern hemisphere.
"NASA is already using lasers for space communication and it's not unrealistic to imagine that an extraterrestrial intelligence might be using them as well," Bhathal says.
"In terms of Earth technology today, we have achieved a maximum of 1015 watts of laser power for a brief period, butan advanced civilisation could have lasers with powers of 1025." He admits, however, that our failure to pick up any interstellar signals so far could mean that advanced civilisations are using a communications technique still not discovered on Earth.
"It is risky to judge everything by our own technology," he says.
Originally posted by zorgon
Have that reply from Dr Bhathal
Thanks for your email. I think a couple of people from the European press made a mistake and associated my work with the work on extra-solar planets. I am carrying out a search for ETI in the optical spectrum. We are looking for laser pulse signals from outer space.
The signal we detected came from the southern constellation Tucanae. Please find attached the signal for your use in your publications.
We are still in the process of trying to figure out whether it is an ETI signal.
Originally posted by grover
Besides that this is one of the most poorly written piece I've ever read...
Even with the horrible grammar it is an interesting read...
Originally posted by pavil
I would think using a laser to communicate would be a rather inefficient way to broadcast, as you will only be hitting a very small section of the universe around you while radio waves and the like travel basically is every direction from your planet. Even if you knew the location you wanted to laser beam your transmission to, the obstacles in the way and the math involved in hitting your target in another Solar System seem too hard to overcome.
Originally posted by Shakesbeerthen exactly how are they made & why can't we duplicate them ourselves?
Originally posted by jkrog08Why would we assume the basic communication systems of advanced ETs would be anything we can conceive?
They could be using communication bands in the EM spectrum we have not discovered yet.
Or better yet they could be using a type of quantum communication device. Here is a bit of info on the later...
Of the applications of high-frequency gravitational waves (HFGWs), communication appears to be the most important and most immediate. Gravitational waves have a very low cross section for absorption by normal matter, so high-frequency waves could, in principle, carry significant information content with effectively no absorption unlike electromagnetic (EM) waves. Multi-channel HFGW communications can be both pointto- point (for example, to deeply submerged submarines) and point-to-multipoint, like cell phones. HFGWs pass through all ordinary material things without attenuation and represent the ultimate wireless system. One could communicate directly through the Earth from Moscow in Russia to Caracas in Venezuela—without the need for fiber optic cables, microwave relays, or satellite transponders. Antennas, cables, and phone lines would be things of the past.
-High-Frequency Gravitational Wave
Communications Study (GravCom®)
Originally posted by grantbeed
I remember the bit on Contact when they realised the ET's had just heard Hitlers broadcasts.
Originally posted by grantbeed
they should make a movie about an ET civilisation receiving those original broadcasts. that would be awesome.
Originally posted by MikeboydUS
If we went back in time, say 1000 years ago, and tried to explain a radio the people would think it was magic.
If I went back 100 years ago and tried to explain to people Quantum Teleportation, they would think it was a crock of bovine scat.
Originally posted by zorgon
A 1000 years ago people used magic which we can't explain
A 100 years ago Jules Verne was describing the Apollo Mission