Why SETI may be a dead end.

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posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 01:51 AM
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SETI one of the only serious scientific attempts to find and extraterrestrial lfe, may be a dead end. The concept behnd SETI is the search for radio proof of alien civilisatons. But our own world is less dependant on radio transmissions every yer. As satelite, and fiber optc communication becomes more prevalent our planet bleeds less and less radio into the universe. If this is the trend on earth might it also be the trend elsewhere in the universe?
www.newscientist.com...




posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 03:12 AM
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SETI's assumption that searching for radio signals is the optimal method of finding ETI has long been questioned by Stan Friedman.

"Why do SS assume that radio is the ultimate means of long distance communication, when we have only had this kind of technology for roughly 100 years?"

"It is good to see recent recognition of the fact that we can already, with our primitive technology, create laser signals able to be observed by other civilizations in the neighborhood. Optical SETI is coming in to its own. But remember progress comes from doing things differently. What new communication techniques will we master in just 50 or 100 years??"


Source



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 03:38 AM
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I've always beleved that at some point in the future we are going to discover a new communication technology which is far more advanced than radio transmissions. This tech in my opinion will be based on breakthroughs in quantum mechanics and will alow FTLC (faster than light communication) Once the first reciever is turned on we will be stunned to find a galactic communiction network similar to the internet in which thousands of civilisations are communicating as easily as we here at ATS do. Though I love the idea of SETI I've always felt that its achilles heel is that it reies on what is essentially a very primitive technology.



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 09:44 AM
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Originally posted by mwm1331
...Though I love the idea of SETI I've always felt that its achilles heel is that it reies on what is essentially a very primitive technology.


Hi mwm1331!

I certainly wouldn't argue with your logic. However, I tend towards the pragmatic, "here-and-now" approach myself: why not use the technology we have knowledge of - in this case radio - and "listen" for any signs of Life that might be present? True, more esoteric technologies and methodologies might exist for us to discover and utilise in the future but to ignore radio communication seems a little like "throwing the baby out with the bath water" to me? Anything that produces potential results has to be a "good thing" IMO?

Each, as they say, to their own!!



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 10:06 AM
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SETI is a dead end.a huge waste of money to.if ever another civilisation used radio waves and we received their waves,then we would receive loads at the same time,not jus a wow signal here and there.because if you were on another planet a 100 light-years away,you would receive a continous flow of radio waves coming from the earth,not just a wow signal and thats it.

and if we do find those waves,they were probably emitted thousands of years ago...it would prove the existance of other intelligent life but,it seems like an extremely primitive tool.



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 10:20 AM
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Originally posted by DarkSide
SETI is ... a dead end.a huge waste of money to....
...it would prove the existance of other intelligent life but,it seems like an extremely primitive tool.


Huge waste of money Darkside? Compared to what exactly? And who is bearing the expense ie as a SETI@home user I volunteer *my* machines, as do others, so I guess the "expense" is distributed across many voluntary users who wish their machines to be processing something rather than be sat idle on their desks? Any harm in that Dark Side to you?

And if it proved the existance of other intelligent Life, wouldn't *that*justify the expense? As regards being "primative" - perhaps so, but it is one at our disposal.

But, each to his or her own opinion I suppose. Thanx for your contribution!



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 10:23 AM
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Even if they used radio for only ten years, the signals would still be bouncing around out there....that's enough reason for me to support it. Yes, when and if we do find a signal, we'll likely then find several more in the same area, but we're searching a beach for a particular grain of sand people....that takes time...



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 10:33 AM
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I look at it this way, If we are looking for things like radio or television signals, if there are any found it would mean that at some point in the past (depends on the origion of the signal) anywhere from 27 years ago to hundreds of millions or even billions of years ago, there was / is a society out there that is on par with what we have today.
This would of couse preculde any type of 2 way communications or even verification that the signals are truely intelligently created (even if we can identify and decipher the signals, remember different species, evolution etc.)
what we may want to seriously look into is other forms of communications that another civilization may use that may shorten the time interval and thus allow some form of 2 way communication.
the investigation of such things as lasers or even the theortical tachyon (FTL) should be ( to my mind) of a paramount importance to the SETI project and those scientists who are actively pursuing this.



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 11:19 PM
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I've been allowing SETI to use my computer for years but don't know if we will see anything substantial come of it in the near future.

I can understand the logic of radio waves being used less, thus making it difficult for us to assume that other possible life forms in the universe would be using the same technology. However, the radio waves we have already sent will be travelling in space long after we have stopped transmitting them. Even if a distant society in space stopped using it as well, we could still end up picking something up whose originator has gone the way of the Dodo.

Personally, I would gladly take proof of other intelligent species whether they were long gone or not. I still shudder to think that the first sounds another species would pick up from us would be Hitler, what an everlasting legacy that moron has now quite possibly.



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 11:35 PM
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i have runed seti home due to a personal experience.
can you have sure that your comp is realy analaizing what it is showed in the Screen saver?! i think not!
the original seti program have fulfilled it's objective already, it was because of that , that they decide to shut down the project. but it seems that they have regreted, because seti home(as all the other projects like cancer and human genoma) it's a great excuse for the "echelon" now, think on that, your computers can be used to help others to spy on us.
it is my belives, just that!



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 11:45 PM
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Originally posted by Gazrok
Even if they used radio for only ten years, the signals would still be bouncing around out there....that's enough reason for me to support it. Yes, when and if we do find a signal, we'll likely then find several more in the same area, but we're searching a beach for a particular grain of sand people....that takes time...


I agree Radio technology is quite easy to develop and could have been a early starting point for alot of other races out there. Once they send a signal out they cant take it back. No one thinks that advanced Aliens would still use Radio waves but there is a good chance they tried or used that technology somewhere in their history.

Its a really big universe out there I like the grain of sand on a beach analogy, but think its closer to looking for one grain of sand on every beach on the entire planet.



posted on Aug, 11 2004 @ 01:49 AM
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I suppose I have to agree with the here and now statement. Right now...it's what we're capable of doing. Perhaps in the future, there will be more. It does seem hopeless in a sense, though, I must give that.



posted on Aug, 11 2004 @ 03:14 AM
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Don't get me wrong I support SETI myself. My point was simply that the chances of getting anything meaningful out of the project is following the law of diminishing returns. But the fact that there are people who are willing to listen for the voice of alien races says a lot about humanity.



posted on Aug, 11 2004 @ 03:25 AM
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I am absolutely certain that intelligent life must have developed elsewhere in the Universe, and probably very frequently. BUT, assuming Einstein was right, and nothing travels faster than light, I'm also absolutely certain that we will never communicate with any species outside our own solar system. It's all a matter of time and probability. The distances between stars (let alone galaxies) are too vast and the time spans too great for us to be aiming our radio telescopes in the right place and listening at the right time.

Electromagnetic radiation (light, heat, radio etc) doesn't "bounce around" in space as Gazrok suggested. It travels in a straight line, except where it's bent around objects with mass such as stars, galaxies or black holes. So we won't hear anything unless we point our scopes right at the source.

We often focus on the space factor but not the time factor in considering the possibility of encountering radiation from an alien civilisation. It takes 10^9 to 10^12 years for radiowaves from 99.9999-I don't know how many more 9's-% of the universe to reach Earth. We've been transmitting for less than 100 years, and listening for less than 50. It seems pretty unlikely we will survive as a technologically advanced race for many more hundreds of years before BLAM - either we destroy the place or it destroys us! At the rate the oil price is going maybe we'll soon have to cut right back on technology anyway. Alien civilisations will most likely encounter all the same problems we have, living on a self contained and self sufficient ball of matter.

So, multiply all these miniscule probabilities together and the chance of contacting aliens is something similar to the possibility of locating a single grain of sand on a beach by chance - it's never going to happen! Pretty bleak truth, but I'm big enough to live with this - why are so many people afraid of it?

Professor Bob



posted on Aug, 11 2004 @ 04:13 AM
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Originally posted by robertcd...
So, multiply all these miniscule probabilities together and the chance of contacting aliens is something similar to the possibility of locating a single grain of sand on a beach by chance - it's never going to happen! Pretty bleak truth, but I'm big enough to live with this - why are so many people afraid of it? Professor Bob


Hi Professor!

Excellent argument but (there is always a but!).... If we *don't* look (or rather "listen") for radio signals from space, then we certainly aren't going to hear anything from a potential ETI. If we *do* listen (because we have the technology to do so) then there is a *possibility* of finding proof of ETI, no matter how remote or absurb it might appear surely? For myself, I'd prefer to keep listening, thank you very much. Even a remote chance or probability of success is surely better than having no chance at all?

As a Professor, I know that you know of the Drake Equation here but others might not, so I include the link for their interest.

I, too, feel I'm big enough to accept the "truth" - but, in the mean time, rather than being insular and parochial, I'd rather that we continue to search for radio emissions. However small the probability of success, I feel we should use every "weapon in our arsenal" that we have, because we *can*. All it would take is one chance "hit" after all. And that intrigues me.

Here's to denying silence!!



posted on Aug, 11 2004 @ 05:15 AM
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It's certainly a noble cause Genya, though I would prefer to be using the resources to find all those big chunks of space rock out there that will eventually wipe us out if we don't look sharp!

Thanks for reminding me about the Drake equation. I'm sure there are whole articles dedicated to how long it will take to work through all the stars in the Milky Way to find one of his 10000 "communicable civilisations", but scanning each of the roughly 10^11 stars in our galaxy, even at a rate of 1 per week (I think it may be less) will take almost 200,000 years!

Prof Bob



posted on Aug, 11 2004 @ 05:34 AM
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Originally posted by robertcd
It's certainly a noble cause Genya, though I would prefer to be using the resources to find all those big chunks of space rock out there that will eventually wipe us out if we don't look sharp! Prof Bob


Thank you for your kind comments Bob!


Of course, discovering NEO's is extremely important to us (although just *what* we'd *do* if one was found to be heading for Earth is still a mater of conjecture I think?). Obviously, resources that might be used for this "radar" serach of near space is imperative.However, in the case of SETI@home, which uses the Arecibo radio telescope, the receiver effectively "piggy backs" whilst the telescope is surveying the sky for other projects.

Quote from here

"Like Project Phoenix, the SERENDIP receiver is based at the Arecibo Observatory, but unlike Phoenix it doesn't need to wait (my emphasis) for highly-prized observation time-slots. Instead, it is permanently perched above the Arecibo dish, scanning whichever part of the sky the dish happens to be pointed at and moving through the sky with the rotation of the Earth. While this approach would not work for a targeted search, it is well suited for an all-sky survey like SERENDIP."

As an aside - or extension to the discussion - the same reference above discusses Optical SETI - quote:

"The Planetary Society has also branched out beyond radio searches, sponsoring Optical SETI ventures that look for concentrated laser signals from the stars. In 1998 it began supporting two targeted searches, based in Harvard and U.C. Berkeley, which look for very short light bursts coming from candidate stars. Since the end of 2000 The Society has supplemented these projects by funding the construction of the largest dedicated Optical SETI observatory in the world, in Harvard, Massachusetts. When completed ometime in 2002, the observatory will be used for the first all-sky Optical SETI survey."

Still looking and listening!!



posted on Aug, 11 2004 @ 05:42 AM
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The drake equation is great if we had any basis to fill in number, but we don't.

One of the more disturbing things to come from identifying extrasolar planets is that virtually every star we look at has a gas giant in close orbit to it. Why is this bad?

A gas giant in close orbit would tear apart or consume any small rocky world like earth. Our solar system works well for life because the gas giants are set out far from the sun. So not only are there no gas giants crushing the earth, but they are also collecting debris from larger orbits.

But the more we look the more it starts to look like our solar system is more of the exception than the rule. Our model of solar system formation has always been based on our solar system, but the more we look to other stars the more it would seem we are wrong.

Here is the drake equation based on current real estimates (based on data) of the involved numbers:

R= 1 (Rates of the birth of sun like stars)
Fp= 1 (Generous assuption planets form around all stars)
Ne= 0.0001 (Generous asuption that stars we aren't sure about do have earth-like planets)
Fl= 1 (No basis for this number so assuming life will developes every where it can, big leap)
Fi = 1x10^-22 (out of all species on earth only one, us, have become intelligent/technological)
Fc = 0.00001 (based on the time we've been communicating with radio since we developed language)
L = 4 million (based on the avergae lifetime of a species on earth)

All those number based on what we know of life yields 0.0000000000000000000000004 species in the milkyway for us to talk to.

So the drake equation, based on what we know rather than what we hope for, actually say there IS NOT anyone out there. So until we have some new data, the drake equation is an argument AGAINST SETI.

Now I support seti because out understanding of the universe it too limited to trust those numbers. But nonetheless, the drake equation is an argument against looking, not for it.



posted on Aug, 11 2004 @ 06:12 AM
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Originally posted by Quest...One of the more disturbing things to come from identifying extrasolar planets is that virtually every star we look at has a gas giant in close orbit to it....

...Now I support seti because out understanding of the universe it too limited to trust those numbers. But nonetheless, the drake equation is an argument against looking, not for it.


Hi Quest!

Thank you for your comments and analysis of the Drake equation, as well as the discussion about extra-solar planets. According to this source there are 110 such objects, although as the site was only updated on 3rd March 2004 I don't know if any more objects have been discovered? I've just done another search which found 108 planetary systems, 123 planets, and 13 multiple planet systems (from here dated 22nd July 2004. I guess the more we look, the more we'll discover??


As regards the Drake equation - well, at best it *is* a "guestimate" and open to all sorts of specualtion as regards what numbers to input. I included it merely because of it's "historical" significance, and for others to do their own analysis if they so wish?

However, I don't see how this mitigates against SETI? Surely if we "listen" or "look" - because we have the technolgy to do so at this moment in our technological development - then we should?? Even if the Drake Equation argues against the existence of other civilisations (by inputing numbers that give low estimates, for example) surely an objective of science is to observe the Universe in both the micro- and macrocosm?


Finding *one* extraterrestrial civilisation by SETI could be the "white crow", don't you think?



posted on Aug, 11 2004 @ 06:58 AM
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Originally posted by kangaxx
can you have sure that your comp is realy analaizing what it is showed in the Screen saver?! i think not!

it's a great excuse for the "echelon" now, think on that, your computers can be used to help others to spy on us.
it is my belives, just that!


I doubt this would be possible, due to the fact that people can use network monitoring tools to see exactly what the SETI@Home program is sending/recieving, plus can dissemble the program file(s) - to see exactly what it does. So they wouldn't be able to hide much.



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