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The Fatal Flaw of the SETI Project.

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posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 11:57 AM
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Simply put, if the Drake Equation is correct, and there are all sorts of intelligent life out there. The sad fact is, radio waves travel too slowly for interstellar communication. By the time we receive a signal from a civilization, it may be thousands of years old and that civilization may be long gone.

Radio waves still travel at the speed of light, which means if an intelligent civilization is 10,000 light years away, it would take a signal 10,000 years to reach us.

And what if that civilization doesn't use radio waves in order to communicate? What if they use some other means, some other form of energy that does travel faster than light?

It's just a fatal flaw in SETI, it's a good idea, but I just don't get why they think they will find anything using radio waves.




posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 12:02 PM
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Originally posted by whatukno
It's just a fatal flaw in SETI, it's a good idea, but I just don't get why they think they will find anything using radio waves.


SETI isn't a specific project, nor is it limited to searching for radio waves.

SETI stands for the "Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence".

SETI projects have already included various attempts to find signs of extra-terrestrial life in our galaxy (and, indeed, other galaxies) - not just radio wave broadcasts.

All the best,

Isaac



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 12:04 PM
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reply to post by whatukno
 


i have to say this is the very first time that i have to agree with you.
2nd line



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 12:05 PM
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reply to post by whatukno
 


that makes complete sense. if the intelligent life has the means of communication, wouldn't they be aware of this as well? which only leads me to assume they would use other means of communication, and who is to say we have even ventured onto the correct ability, capacity or type of communication they would even be using to communicate.

excellent thinking.. S&F



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 12:16 PM
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If a civilization was advanced enough, they would probably be able to measure the disruption in space.

Take for instance the example that if you took a giant impervious stick, and stretched it from earth to the moon...if you move one end of the stick, it should move on the other end instantaneously, regardless of distance. (of course, we do not have an impervious pole, so we cant do this...but that was simply an example)

I think just as we can detect a black hole by the way space is altered around it, they would also be able tod etect the disruption caused by our radio waves.



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 12:18 PM
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We could possibly receive a transmission from a long-dead civilization that may contain insights to how an advanced society functions or maybe a little technology.

Even though they may be long dead, a transmission would still indicate that they existed at some point, proving extraterrestrial life has been out there.
edit on 21-12-2010 by butcherguy because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 12:20 PM
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reply to post by whatukno
 


It's not an effort at communication with other intelligent life, it's more like trying to overhear someone else's conversation. Any signal intercepted, even if it's a million years old, would rock this world to its roots.

Besides, if you don't look, you're sure not to find anything.



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 12:27 PM
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I'd just comment that in the "Search for Extra-Terestrial Intelligence", there is no requirement for two way communication. In my opinion the project would be successful if it identified any intelligent signal that was proven to be of Extra-Terrestrial origin.
In the search for contact, I'd agree that listening to thousand year old radio waves would be pointless.

JMO..



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 12:41 PM
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Originally posted by whatukno
Simply put, if the Drake Equation is correct, and there are all sorts of intelligent life out there. The sad fact is, radio waves travel too slowly for interstellar communication. By the time we receive a signal from a civilization, it may be thousands of years old and that civilization may be long gone.


So? It isn't the Search for Extraterrestrial Contact, it's the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Learning that some civilization existed thousands of light years away, thousands of years ago, would be a monumental discovery.


And what if that civilization doesn't use radio waves in order to communicate? What if they use some other means, some other form of energy that does travel faster than light?


So? If some civilization uses something other than radio communication, then SETI's radio band project won't find those. That doesn't preclude radio as a logical place to search.


It's just a fatal flaw in SETI, it's a good idea, but I just don't get why they think they will find anything using radio waves.


I'm not seeing this "fatal flaw" you claim to have identified.



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 12:49 PM
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What's the alternative though?

Do nothing?

Granted, it's like looking for a particular grain of sand, when you aren't even sure what beach to look on, but it doesn't mean we can't try and hope to get lucky.

SOMEBODY eventually wins the lottery, despite the odds....after all.



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 03:25 PM
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reply to post by Gazrok
 
According to queen of SETI, Jill Tarter:

www.ted.com...

"'Are we alone?' Humans have been asking [this question] forever. The probability of success is difficult to estimate but if we never search the chance of success is zero."

Jill Tarter
There's also a video of Jill Tarter discussing this: www.ted.com...

I agree the chances are slim, but I don't know of a better alternative.

Here's what Carl Sagan got a bunch of scientists to agree to:

www.planetary.org...


(Carl Sagan): in 1982, when I put together a petition published in Science urging the scientific respectability of SETI...The petition proposed that, instead of arguing the issue, we look:

"We are unanimous in our conviction that the only significant test of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence is an experimental one. No a priori arguments on this subject can be compelling or should be used as a substitute for an observational program."

edit on 21-12-2010 by Arbitrageur because: added link



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 03:36 PM
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Originally posted by Juggernutty
If a civilization was advanced enough, they would probably be able to measure the disruption in space.

Take for instance the example that if you took a giant impervious stick, and stretched it from earth to the moon...if you move one end of the stick, it should move on the other end instantaneously, regardless of distance. (of course, we do not have an impervious pole, so we cant do this...but that was simply an example)

I think just as we can detect a black hole by the way space is altered around it, they would also be able tod etect the disruption caused by our radio waves.


You're talking about Quantum entanglement here, aren't you?

That's very true if you are.

We are probably the *only* idiot lifeform in this galaxy using bloody radio waves for communication!
ET had probably realised radio waves damage DNA long ago, and moved on to optical/laser comms or for higher logic ET's, quantum entanglement, to allow instantaneous communications, regardless of where in the galaxy or even *what* galaxy they happen to be currently in.

Radio, isn't slow btw, it's the speed of light...quantum entanglement is much faster though, instant in fact, so that is probably what ET uses...and SETI is *not* set up to detect that kind of communication as far as i'm aware!



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 06:50 PM
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1. I know what SETI stands for, please don't insult my intelligence. I know it's not about contact or communication, but about detection. That wasn't my point.

2. Looking for a radio signal from an extraterrestrial society in my opinion is pointless. Say the civilization is 50,000 light years away, that means that the radio signal would take 50,000 years before it would reach us. It's entirely possible that we won't receive that signal for thousands of years.

3. There is also no guarantee that an alien civilization ever developed radio as a form of communication. We may be looking for a signal that will never arrive.




edit on 12/21/2010 by whatukno because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 06:58 PM
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Originally posted by whatukno
And what if that civilization doesn't use radio waves in order to communicate? What if they use some other means, some other form of energy that does travel faster than light?


If that's the case, then we're screwed until we can figure out how that other means of communication works. You just can't beat some things in physics unless you change the paradigms.

On the other hand, an alien race might not have discovered that means of communication right off the bat. They may have had to work and develop it slowly, over the course of a couple thousand years. And until they discovered it, they might have had to use good old radio or light or gamma rays or whatever. And that's what we're looking for -- them, in their past, using the same crude means of communication we do. It doesn't hurt to listen and look. Maybe we'll learn something. We can't just wait until we figure it out. Maybe listening is what we need to do to figure it out.



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 07:01 PM
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Originally posted by whatukno
Simply put, if the Drake Equation is correct, and there are all sorts of intelligent life out there. The sad fact is, radio waves travel too slowly for interstellar communication. By the time we receive a signal from a civilization, it may be thousands of years old and that civilization may be long gone.

Radio waves still travel at the speed of light, which means if an intelligent civilization is 10,000 light years away, it would take a signal 10,000 years to reach us.

And what if that civilization doesn't use radio waves in order to communicate? What if they use some other means, some other form of energy that does travel faster than light?

It's just a fatal flaw in SETI, it's a good idea, but I just don't get why they think they will find anything using radio waves.


The Drake equation cannot be correct. The Drake equation was created by a human using numbers that can be manipulated from here to kingdom come. Anyone can create an equation and the result is still the unknown. No one, no matter how smart, can say that there are any other beings besides us. The only evidence that exists is us. We are all there is and to figure that out all you need is common sense.

SETI was designed to fail from creation. You cannot aim a flashlight or a laser and cover the universe. At best it will be just a narrow beam that quickly disappears in the distance. The only way that SETI can work is to make the whole planet radiate out equally, no pinpointing.



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 08:05 PM
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Originally posted by whatukno
1. I know what SETI stands for, please don't insult my intelligence. I know it's not about contact or communication, but about detection. That wasn't my point.
Then please explain what your point is more clearly because your OP did imply you thought it was about communication, and not detection: Remember this?


Originally posted by whatukno
The sad fact is, radio waves travel too slowly for interstellar communication. By the time we receive a signal from a civilization, it may be thousands of years old and that civilization may be long gone.
That sure sounds like it refers to communication.


2. Looking for a radio signal from an extraterrestrial society in my opinion is pointless. Say the civilization is 50,000 light years away, that means that the radio signal would take 50,000 years before it would reach us. It's entirely possible that we won't receive that signal for thousands of years.
So let's say that tomorrow morning we detect a signal that left the source 50,000 years ago, and we determine that it was likely created by an intelligent civilization.

Isn't there a point to knowing this? That 50,000 years ago, there was an intelligent civilization capable of generating a signal?

I suspect that for technical reasons, our best chances of detection will be within a few hundred, or maybe a thousand light years. While it's not impossible to detect something 50,000 light years away or further, the source at a larger distance needs to be extremely strong to be detected above background noise. If our own TV signals are any example (and they are the ONLY example of civilized intelligent electromagnetic emissions we have), they are probably not powerful enough to be detected above background noise, more than a few hundred light years away except by an extremely large radio telescope array:

Can our TV signals be picked up on other planets?


Shostak calculates that Nasa's recent broadcast of Beatles music towards Polaris, the North Star, using a 210ft antenna and 20kW of power, would require any potential aliens to have an antenna seven miles across to be aware of it. To actually receive it as music, this would need to be increased to a 500-mile wide antenna. Polaris is 430 light years away.
So what are the chances of aliens 430 light years away having a 7 mile wide or 500 mile wide antenna? Hard to say since if they are alien we don't know much about them. But this example does give you some idea of the difficulties involved in detecting a signal more than a few hundred light years away.
edit on 21-12-2010 by Arbitrageur because: fix typo



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 08:24 PM
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reply to post by whatukno
 


You may be quite right in thinking we will not ever receive a message from a distant alien civilization - or a distant civilization receive one from us. However, this is not because they haven't been sent to us, or us to them. It is because radio waves will dissipate the further they travel and I believe after traveling the speed of light for 4 years or so, 4 light years, they will dissipate and be unreadable by our current means of technology.

An advanced alien race may have better tech to decode the message or may use a type of technology with quantum entanglement as the core principle. If this is the case and they are looking for the signal it may be possible for them to know of the signal the instant it is created. I don't know how this would work, trying to speculate on future technology of this magnitude is, for me, like trying to predict what would happen after a technological singularity.



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 08:30 PM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 



Then please explain what your point is more clearly because your OP did imply you thought it was about communication, and not detection


I apologize if you mistook that I meant interstellar communication with US, I meant civilizations communicating with each other.


So let's say that tomorrow morning we detect a signal that left the source 50,000 years ago, and we determine that it was likely created by an intelligent civilization.

Isn't there a point to knowing this? That 50,000 years ago, there was an intelligent civilization capable of generating a signal?


No, not really. It may be of some interest anthropologically, but it wouldn't give us any kind of real insight into that civilization as it is today. The civilization that generated a signal 50,000 years ago, may not exist anymore, or it may be completely different today than it existed that long ago.


I suspect that for technical reasons, our best chances of detection will be within a few hundred, or maybe a thousand light years. While it's not impossible to detect something 50,000 light years away or further, the source at a larger distance needs to be extremely strong to be detected above background noise. If our own TV signals are any example (and they are the ONLY example of civilized intelligent electromagnetic emissions we have), they are probably not powerful enough to be detected above background noise, more than a few hundred light years away except by an extremely large radio telescope array:

Can our TV signals be picked up on other planets?


Shostak calculates that Nasa's recent broadcast of Beatles music towards Polaris, the North Star, using a 210ft antenna and 20kW of power, would require any potential aliens to have an antenna seven miles across to be aware of it. To actually receive it as music, this would need to be increased to a 500-mile wide antenna. Polaris is 430 light years away.
So what are the chances of aliens 540 light years away having a 7 mile wide or 500 mile wide antenna? Hard to say since if they are alien we don't know much about them. But this example does give you some idea of the difficulties involved in detecting a signal more than a few hundred light years away.


Ok, not only would they need an antenna that big, but it would take 430 years for that signal to reach Polaris.

If you look at the Drake Equation the likely hood of detecting an intelligent species is very very low. If there are only two civilizations in the galaxy that has the capability of sending a signal, and the galaxy is 100,000 light years across, what is the possibility that the other civilization is anywhere NEAR us.



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 08:37 PM
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for anyone with half of their brain working and acess to google, SETI is a joke



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 08:40 PM
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SETI have to report back to the government and need their permission to release information if extra terrestrial were found. FAIL FAIL



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