posted on Sep, 3 2004 @ 09:14 AM
(SPACE.com) -- A fresh perspective on searching for aliens suggests ET is more likely to send us something akin to a message in a bottle rather than
relying on energy-intensive, inefficient radio messages.
The professional hunt for ET depend largely on huge telescopes that scan for electronic intelligence in the ether, on the assumption that an brainy,
technologically advanced civilization might try to reach out to others, or that their communications would leak into space.
But sending a signal across the cosmos is expensive an inefficient, argues Christopher Rose, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at
Rutgers University. The idea is detailed in the August 25 issue of the journal Nature.
NASA's two Voyager probes exhibit such an effort. Each carries a 12-inch, gold-plated copper disk with sounds and images that portray terrestrial
life and culture. The cost to send the records was practically inconsequential to the overall price tag of the mission, whose main purpose was to
study the planets.
Radio pulses announcing anything more than "we exist" would consume more energy (which requires money) for every word.
Rose is not against listening. He just thinks looking might prove more fruitful. He also notes that messages might not arrive as language, per se.
Perhaps organic material embedded in an asteroid, the Moon or a satellite of Jupiter would reveal the presence of life elsewhere. That of course is
not a new idea. Other scientists have considered that unintelligent (microbial) life could even travel between planets embedded in a rock kicked up by
an asteroid impact. No calling card required