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Benford Beacons - A Better Alternative To SETI's Approach For Detecting ET?

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posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 06:29 AM
SETI's approach to detecting alien signals focuses their recievers on a narrow-band input, and may be searching for the wrong kind of signals. I believe several scientists have criticized SETI for this.

Benford Beacons, as this new concept has been dubbed, advocates that SETI has to adjust their recievers to maximize their ability to detect direct, broadband beacon blasts.

But don't take my word for it, here's the article:

Assuming that an alien civilization would strive to optimize costs, limit waste and make its signaling technology more efficient, Jim Benford, founder and president of Microwave Sciences Inc., proposes that these signals would not be continuously blasted out in all directions but rather would be pulsed, narrowly directed and broadband in the 1-to-10-gigahertz range. The physics professor says. “Whatever the life form, evolution selects for economy of resources. Broadcasting is expensive, and transmitting signals across light-years would require considerable resources.”

“This approach is more like Twitter and less like War and Peace, ” says James Benford,

The concept of short, targeted blips — dubbed “Benford beacons” by the science press — has gotten extensive coverage in such publications as Astronomy Now. Well-known cosmologist Paul Davies, in his 2010 book The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence, supports the theory.

This means that SETI — which focuses its receivers on narrow-band input — may be looking for the wrong kind of signals. The Benfords and a growing number of scientists involved in the hunt for extraterrestrial life advocate adjusting SETI receivers to maximize their ability to detect direct, broadband beacon blasts.

But where to look? The Benfords’ frugal-alien model points to our own Milky Way galaxy, especially the center, where 90 percent of its stars are clustered.

“The stars there are a billion years older than our sun, which suggests a greater possibility of contact with an advanced civilization than does pointing SETI receivers outward to the newer and less crowded edge of our galaxy,” Gregory Benford says.

“Will searching for distant messages work? Is there intelligent life out there? The SETI effort is worth continuing, but our common-sense beacons approach seems more likely to answer those questions.”

Source: Galaxy Daily

I for one, seems like this is a more rational approach than the current method SETI use. But then again, what do I know?

posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 06:51 AM
reply to post by Droogie

someone better tell mr benford that SETIs ATA searches between 1-20ghz, broader than his proposed 1-10ghz.

seti also knows all about looking towards the center of the galaxy infact this is one of the first tasks of the ATA but only for massive signals. For lower power signals I dont see what his suggestion is for overcoming the collosal amount of noise generated from the center of the galaxy and how to extract a signal from it?

maybe theres alot of info missing from this article but what mr benford is saying is nothing new

posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 07:13 AM
reply to post by Droogie

There was a rumor that there was a beacon operational in the American southwest in 2007. But it was not a beacon to intercept a message, it was supposed to be a message in itself.

What a fabulous year for sightings 2007 was! With a big finale' in Stephenville, TX. in Feb. 2008.

Wish that guy with his beacon would come back.

posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 07:23 AM
Well, it seems as if this is a new concept, considering it has reportedly gotten "extensive coverage" by several astronomy journals lately. I can't answer about the technical questions, but I found a video on youtube that might answer your questions. It's pretty long though, but if you're interested take a look at it.

"the Benfords propose that these signals would not be continuously blasted out in all directions but rather would be pulsed, narrowly directed and broadband in the 1-to-10-gigahertz range."

I'm not sure if this is the way SETI works?

posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 07:41 AM
reply to post by Droogie

cant view youtube where i am just now. the quote at the bottom isnt anything new either. but continuous beacons are easier to detect so they search for those first. If that fails they will look to longer observation times of stars to detect pulsed signals.

[edit on 21-7-2010 by yeti101]

posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 07:52 AM
Here's another article that might prove to be a bit more informative.

Despite our best search strategies, are signals from E.T. manifested in anomalous flashes of radio energy from our galaxy that are missed, or dismissed as natural phenomena? Maybe alien transmissions are popping off all around us but we just aren’t looking at the right place or right time to see them.

In a recently published paper by James Benford and Dominic Benford of Microwave Sciences in Lafayette, California, the authors imagine that SETI beacons might be much like a lighthouse, sweeping the galactic plane in a raster pattern. Depending on beam size and scan rate, many days could pass between the brief Twitter-like bursts of “here we are” flashes from alien civilizations.

"We should learn how to identify any such beacons," the authors say. For starters they expect the beam would pulsate to conserve energy and also have amplitude or frequency modulation of the carrier to draw attention to itself.

Are We Overlooking Alien Beacons?

It might be nothing new, and SETI might use this method, but some articles seems to think otherwise.

posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 08:41 AM
My main issue with SETI is that I believe thier attitude is , frankly archaic. Did you know that aside from advancing the field of commuications of which they are already aware, they dont look for totaly new comms methods?
They have been improving the same old ideas for as long as they have existed, and have never once stepped away from the known methodologies. They concentrate thier radiotelescopes on interesting locations , and believe that all that stands between themselves and communication with another intelligent species, is some coordinates.
I believe that the reason no radio signals worth a damn have come up, is because we are the only idiots using them. When you think about how much faster light is than radio waves, or how random effects in the quantum universe can warp reality in subtle ways, and oddly how observation alone can alter the quantum state of an experiment, you have to assume theres more to communication than we are aware of, and until those possibilities are unlocked and unleashed, I cannot see how we are going to progress the search for another intelligent species in the universe... hell Im not even sure that the word ANOTHER applies... Im not sure we are intelligent enough to qualify.

posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 09:42 AM
reply to post by TrueBrit

I was reading an article a few years ago about using/searching for laser light as an alternative. By visually observing stars it could be detected if there was a high powered, specific wavelength 'mixed in' with the stars regular light.

Oddly enough this story was closely followed by the use of high powered lasers to help compensate for atmospheric conditions on Earth thereby allowing terrestrial telescopes to be more effective.

posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 11:19 AM
reply to post by [davinci]

Yeah , telescope tech is very impressive, and the augmentations being added to them, like the lazer you describe, is always impressive. The images taken by these monster observatories are always staggering in my opinion.
However, I would really like to see more efforts made to search deeper into the guts of the universe, some real lateral thinking. Im really interested to know, how it is that we can collide particles at increasingly epic speeds, and yet havent figured out a better way to search the sky for neighbors than scanning an almost ancient bandwidth for decades and decades with our fingers crossed ! I would really like to see SETI move away from radio monitoring and into deeper physics . Obviously I dont believe that shows like star trek are a instruction manual for the future, but I do belive that using the subatomic universe to communicate might be an option. We already know how to push an electron through loopholes in space time, and have it appear at another location without touching the interviening space, and I would like to see communications methods built up around that. I believe its this sort of science which will open our eyes to the other residents of the universe, rather than grandaddy radio.

[edit on 21-7-2010 by TrueBrit]

posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 06:26 AM
So, this basically describes the Wow signal..

posted on Jul, 23 2010 @ 09:37 AM
I think this whole "release" of information is just a further way to get people to be comfortable talking about "aliens" and UFOS. Also, it implies that the aliens, at least the one leaving the messages, are not evil. If they are leaving these subtle messages instead of just invading and destroying us then what are they here for?

posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 06:51 AM

Originally posted by Droogie

Source: Galaxy Daily


posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 07:12 AM
reply to post by TrueBrit

I think the method they use is the cheaper, those things cost money.

Also, I was under the impression that light and radio waves are only different frequencies of electromagnetic radiation, and they travel at the same speed.

posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 07:18 AM

Originally posted by TrueBrit
I believe its this sort of science which will open our eyes to the other residents of the universe, rather than grandaddy radio.

But you have to hope that any possible civilization has followed the same path and is using the same method.

I think the most ancient method is the one with the higher probability of being used and recognised.

If you see someone on the other side of a crowded room you use a old method (like waving) instead of trying to find the right number for his/her cell-phone, if he/she has one.

posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 07:25 AM
I think the general rule of thought is that the aliens more than likely progressed through the same technological development we are, so at one point the used radio frequencies and we are hoping we can detect those frequencies.

If aliens progressed differently than us, and there technological development was totally different (it is possible that their laws of physics are different than ours) so they might not have ever communicated the way we did, do, or will in the future.

Either thought is speculation, since we have no idea if an alien species would have even evolved to the point of our current society, let alone surpassed it, though I am hopeful that they have. We also can not proceed with technology that we do not know, we can only proceed with the technology that we do know, in hopes that the aliens have evolved, at one point or another, along the same lines that we have.

I would hope that any new communications technology that we discover, is brought to the SETI team, if they aren’t already aware of it, and they can use it in their search.

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