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(Phenomenica)   Decades of SETI research finds nothing but street lamps around other stars, to the surprise of no one in SETI research   (phenomenica.com) divider line 88
    More: Obvious, SETI, Jill Tarter, radio signals, Radio Telescope, Kepler, star systems  
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2699 clicks; posted to Geek » on 12 Feb 2013 at 1:04 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-12 11:22:52 AM  
This just in: the universe is a (really)22 big place and radio waves are restricted to the speed of light.

It's going to take them a while to do a thorough search.
 
2013-02-12 11:23:08 AM  
first off - space is BIG!  unbelievably huge.  and we haven't even finished exploring our own solar system, let alone all there to see out there in the big black empty universe.  so don't get discouraged, or start believing we're all alone in the universe.  And secondly, if we ever DID find evidence of life on alien planets, i'm pretty damn sure our government would cover it up.  why?  dude - we put people on secret no fly lists and keep files on every political action group just on the slight chance that they might have walked near someone who once knew a guy that dated a woman who emailed a website that COULD have been linked to a middle east terrorist group 10 years ago.  secrets are just what we do.  anything different shows up - ANYTHING at all, and the Fed will slap a top secret sticker on it and try to bury it for a decade just out of force of habit.
 
2013-02-12 11:51:21 AM  
The problem is that we're looking for aliens that are just like us.
Who says creatures on another planet are using radio?  Who says they care about sending or receiving messages from us?  There's been life on earth for 3.5 billion years and we're the first beings that give a sh*t about this sort of thing. Who says we'll even have the ability to understand each other in the slightest way? Modern humans have been around for 50,000 years and we can still barely communicate with our dogs, much less an alien species.
 
2013-02-12 12:26:15 PM  
And this research is still worth more than any Creationist museum could ever hope to be.
 
2013-02-12 12:30:22 PM  

Rev. Skarekroe: The problem is that we're looking for aliens that are just like us.
Who says creatures on another planet are using radio?  Who says they care about sending or receiving messages from us?  There's been life on earth for 3.5 billion years and we're the first beings that give a sh*t about this sort of thing. Who says we'll even have the ability to understand each other in the slightest way? Modern humans have been around for 50,000 years and we can still barely communicate with our dogs, much less an alien species.


math is the universal language
 
2013-02-12 12:33:49 PM  
How do we know that aliens use the same kind of radio technology that we do?

We don't. For all we know, that subspace communication in Star Trek could be real.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-02-12 12:36:18 PM  
Kazan:

math is the universal language

Technobable is the universal language.
 
2013-02-12 12:36:54 PM  
Given the size of the Universe, the likelihood of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence is pretty certain, however given the size of the Universe, the likelihood that we will find any (or they find us) is almost no chance. That doesn't mean we should stop looking, just that the odds are fairly depressing.

Everything we know about what life needs to exist suggests that the presence of life is probably a relatively recent phenomenon in the Universe. The only element robust enough to foster life is carbon which can only come from the cores of stars. Stars need to explode, die off, and eject their heavy matter to make planets and then life.

The early Universe was too hot and the early Stellar Era had no heavy elements. If life does exist out there, it's probably very young life that has only arrived very recently, like ours. If life is an overwhelming statistical inevitability, we might actually be the first of our kind - the earliest life-form to be consciously aware of its own existence and develop a means of escaping its home planet. As the Universe ages and more stars recycle heavy elements, the propensity for life existing elsewhere increases. That won't happen for hundreds of millions of years, however. We might be very lonely trailblazers. This is all highly speculative.

That other life hasn't contacted us is no indication that it does not exist. Distances in space are impossibly vast and it's a bit presumptuous to assume that other life is even trying to find us in the first place (or even wants to).

Furthermore, there's the Fermi paradox: That intelligent life in the Universe has such a short interstellar window that it goes extinct before it finds anyone else. Any advanced interstellar civilization that peaks and declines - possibly in a drastic way - in the order of thousands of years would appear as a mere blip-flash event to the cosmos at large; a flare-up of radiometry and extra-solar traffic rendered too short, too small, and too insignificant by the vastness of space to be detectable by anyone. A space-faring species would need to be around for tens of millions of years before anything else might detect it. The one thing the Fermi paradox might be suggesting isn't that there is no life out there but rather that traveling and/or communicating through space is very, very hard.
 
2013-02-12 01:03:41 PM  

Ishkur: Given the size of the Universe, the likelihood of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence is pretty certain, however given the size of the Universe, the likelihood that we will find any (or they find us) is almost no chance. That doesn't mean we should stop looking, just that the odds are fairly depressing.

Everything we know about what life needs to exist suggests that the presence of life is probably a relatively recent phenomenon in the Universe. The only element robust enough to foster life is carbon which can only come from the cores of stars. Stars need to explode, die off, and eject their heavy matter to make planets and then life.

The early Universe was too hot and the early Stellar Era had no heavy elements. If life does exist out there, it's probably very young life that has only arrived very recently, like ours. If life is an overwhelming statistical inevitability, we might actually be the first of our kind - the earliest life-form to be consciously aware of its own existence and develop a means of escaping its home planet. As the Universe ages and more stars recycle heavy elements, the propensity for life existing elsewhere increases. That won't happen for hundreds of millions of years, however. We might be very lonely trailblazers. This is all highly speculative.

That other life hasn't contacted us is no indication that it does not exist. Distances in space are impossibly vast and it's a bit presumptuous to assume that other life is even trying to find us in the first place (or even wants to).

Furthermore, there's the Fermi paradox: That intelligent life in the Universe has such a short interstellar window that it goes extinct before it finds anyone else. Any advanced interstellar civilization that peaks and declines - possibly in a drastic way - in the order of thousands of years would appear as a mere blip-flash event to the cosmos at large; a flare-up of radiometry and extra-solar traffic rendered too short, too small, and too insignifican ...


It's just as plausible Earf is the beginning of life and it is we who will spread it throughout the galaxy and beyond.
 
2013-02-12 01:18:06 PM  

cman: How do we know that aliens use the same kind of radio technology that we do?


Electromagnetic radiation is electromagnetic radiation.  We've got a pretty good handle on it, we know the entire spectrum, and we know where we should look, and where we'd be wasting our time looking for various reasons.
 
2013-02-12 01:18:21 PM  
Jesus Subby, you can't be bothered to read your own farking article?

86 stars were selected for this directed search, and over a period of three months in 2011 (February to April), the Green Bank antennae detected 52 candidate narrow-band radio signals (less than 5 Hz) between 1-2 GHz.

As for the story, it is a small swath of space, and these are signals that would have to travel at the speed of light, so if they are 1,000 light years away, it just means that no little green men were transmitting from those planets 1,000 years ago.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-02-12 01:19:44 PM  
We could be the first.  Someone had to be.
 
2013-02-12 01:21:43 PM  

vpb: We could be the first.  Someone had to be.


images3.wikia.nocookie.net

/not amused
 
2013-02-12 01:23:19 PM  

Ishkur: That other life hasn't contacted us is no indication that it does not exist.


Are you sure it hasn't? Consider, we're currently just listening for signals. If we found one, wouldn't the next logical step be to transmit a loud signal at one we detected, and then keep listening and wait for a response? Say, transmit something like:
www.realclearscience.com
So, maybe it's silent because we haven't replied?
 
2013-02-12 01:23:34 PM  
So, because they haven't found anything we should just give up looking...right?  That's how science is done...can't find it...give up.

The universe is so fast, it is likely that there's intelligent live out there...but it's so massive we may never find it in our lifetimes.
 
2013-02-12 01:24:37 PM  
A 100,000 Watt radio source, radiating omnidirectionally, produces 0.000000796 Watts at 100 kilometers. At 100 light-years, the signal strength has degraded to 0.000000000000000000000000014 W, much less than the interstellar background noise.

So unless aliens have a bigass transmitter aimed directly at Earth, we aren't going to find them with radio.
 
2013-02-12 01:26:45 PM  
It has nothing to do with how big the universe is and has everything to do with "we don't know what we're looking for."

As someone on Through the Wormhole explained, we shouldn't be looking for words, but instead for various patterns that exist in all communication in all forms of life.

The other issue, as others have pointed out, is that we may not even be capable of detecting the forms of communication being used. An analogy would be looking for a letter when aliens are sending email.
 
2013-02-12 01:30:45 PM  

Ishkur: Furthermore, there's the Fermi paradox: That intelligent life in the Universe has such a short interstellar window that it goes extinct before it finds anyone else. Any advanced interstellar civilization that peaks and declines - possibly in a drastic way - in the order of thousands of years would appear as a mere blip-flash event to the cosmos at large; a flare-up of radiometry and extra-solar traffic rendered too short, too small, and too insignificant by the vastness of space to be detectable by anyone. A space-faring species would need to be around for tens of millions of years before anything else might detect it. The one thing the Fermi paradox might be suggesting isn't that there is no life out there but rather that traveling and/or communicating through space is very, very hard.


Heck, from what I understand most of our radio communications nowadays don't propagate out to space as we have switched from high voltage inefficient designs to low voltage efficient designs. Is as if we used flood lamps to light our way everyone for about 100 years, then we quickly switched the small little led lights and wonder why people on other planets are seeing them.
 
2013-02-12 01:31:12 PM  
I'm kidding, of course. Any of the stars around Sagittarius Chi are far too far away for them to have heard us and sent a ping.
 
2013-02-12 01:48:16 PM  
I've always though the "fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space" factor of the Drake equation to be over-estimated at 10-20%.

It's a fluke that we ever got past huts and tepees.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-02-12 01:48:19 PM  
MindStalker:

Heck, from what I understand most of our radio communications nowadays don't propagate out to space as we have switched from high voltage inefficient designs to low voltage efficient designs. Is as if we used flood lamps to light our way everyone for about 100 years, then we quickly switched the small little led lights and wonder why people on other planets are seeing them.

From what I understand, a radio telescope could detect very faint radio broadcasts from 100s of light years away.  But given our increasing demand for wireless data, any civilization that used radio technology would be likely to use low powered short range transmissions to maximize available bandwidth.
 
2013-02-12 01:49:00 PM  
though=thought

/ugh
//where's my hut?
 
2013-02-12 02:06:18 PM  

cman: How do we know that aliens use the same kind of radio technology that we do?

We don't. For all we know, that subspace communication in Star Trek could be real.


Electromagnetic radiation is a vital component to the physical universe; it's unlikely any technic civilization could develop without a thorough study of it, including radio waves. The aliens might not use radio technology, but they'd almost certainly be familiar with its basic principles.
 
2013-02-12 02:10:32 PM  

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: A 100,000 Watt radio source, radiating omnidirectionally, produces 0.000000796 Watts at 100 kilometers. At 100 light-years, the signal strength has degraded to 0.000000000000000000000000014 W, much less than the interstellar background noise.

So unless aliens have a bigass transmitter aimed directly at Earth, we aren't going to find them with radio.


You could detect a 100,000 watt omnidirectional (something that isn't practical, but let's go with it) radio signal  with the Arecibo telescope out to about 2,470 AU.

If the Alienses used even a moderately more powerful transmitter, say, 10 megawatts (something we can do now ourselves), you could detect that at about 1/10th the distance to Proxima Centauri.

But even here on Earth, no one uses omnidirectional antennas.  Even a modest dish antenna of 30 feet in diameter, transmitting 10 megawatts, could be detected by Arecibo at a distance of around 350 light years.

Right now, an alien Arecibo equivalent could detect our current ballistic missile early warning radars out to perhaps 8 light years, and the old DEW Line radars out to something like 12 light years.
 
2013-02-12 02:12:00 PM  
The search for intelligent life in the universe is very much akin to a religious quest. With SETI we have gone in assuming that radio waves are a milepost on the road to civilization. We set out looking for OURSELVES!
No wonder SETI has not found anything and likely NEVER will. It is the wrong tool for the job. In other words it has been a waste of resources that could have been better spent.

  Intelligence probably exists elsewhere in the universe, however interstellar distances effectively isolate any intelligence from ever contacting another like itself. For all intents and purposes we ARE alone in the universe.

  That is not what the SETI crowd wants to hear but it is the truth.
 
2013-02-12 02:16:55 PM  

Delawheredad: Intelligence probably exists elsewhere in the universe, however interstellar distances effectively isolate any intelligence from ever contacting another like itself. For all intents and purposes we ARE alone in the universe.

  That is not what the SETI crowd wants to hear but it is the truth.


Why do you believe this to be true?
 
2013-02-12 02:29:20 PM  

Kazan: Rev. Skarekroe: The problem is that we're looking for aliens that are just like us.
Who says creatures on another planet are using radio?  Who says they care about sending or receiving messages from us?  There's been life on earth for 3.5 billion years and we're the first beings that give a sh*t about this sort of thing. Who says we'll even have the ability to understand each other in the slightest way? Modern humans have been around for 50,000 years and we can still barely communicate with our dogs, much less an alien species.

math is the universal language


It's entirely possible our understanding of mathematics is so crude, relatively speaking, that even broadcasting a mathematical message wouldn't be worth a more advanced species' time.
 
2013-02-12 02:31:52 PM  
You are a fluke of the universe.
You have no right to be here.
And whether you can hear it or not,
The universe is laughing behind your back.
 
2013-02-12 02:33:24 PM  
qorkfiend

  Simple mathematics. The odds of intelligent life forming are unknown. For intelligence to evolve on our planet for example several major extinctions had to happen first. The dinosaurs ruled the planet for millions of years and never developed intelligence. Therefore on our OWN planet intelligent life is not the norm of the planet's evolution. We have no way of guessing how intelligence evolves on other planets or even if intelligence like ours is a natural end result of evolution. A LOT of things had to happen for us to inherit this planet. For all we know we ARE cosmic accidents.

  The likely hood of that accident happening billions of times as SETI proponents wish to believe is only a wishful conjecture. Intelligent life in the universe is more than likely scattered on distant outposts throughout the galaxies. The odds of any two of those intelligences coming in contact with each other are infinitesimally remote.

  The best situation for humanity is to live like we are the only intelligence in the  universe. No aliens are coming to share their wisdom with us, the cavalry is not coming charging over the hills,  so we have to live as though we are the only spark of intelligence in the galaxy, We are it, We don't get a second chance. we need to preserve our earth, terraform other planets and spread throughout the solar system and eventually the nearby stars.  Like the humans at the end of The  Martian Chronicles in order to meet aliens we have to become them.
 
2013-02-12 02:38:04 PM  

bentley57: You are a fluke of the universe.


Or an inevitability.

/the probability of either is 1
 
2013-02-12 02:43:22 PM  

Delawheredad: The search for intelligent life in the universe is very much akin to a religious quest.


You could even say they're analogous.

/Veal, Thursday, etc.
 
2013-02-12 02:43:36 PM  

Delawheredad: Simple mathematics. The odds of intelligent life forming are unknown. For intelligence to evolve on our planet for example several major extinctions had to happen first. The dinosaurs ruled the planet for millions of years and never developed intelligence. Therefore on our OWN planet intelligent life is not the norm of the planet's evolution.


There is no indication that our planet is in any way better or worse towards germinating advanced life than the expected universal norm. We have no standard of comparison from which to make an assertion as to whether life on other worlds must go through the same rigorous processes as ours does.

Our planet may be optimal. It may be sub-optimal. It may be average. The history of life on this planet may be typical. It may be unusual. It may be inevitable. Intelligence on other worlds may take only a few million years to evolve, or a few billion years longer than it has here.

We. Just. Don't. Know.

And not knowing is why we want to find out.
 
2013-02-12 02:49:38 PM  

dittybopper: Right now, an alien Arecibo equivalent could detect our current ballistic missile early warning radars out to perhaps 8 light years, and the old DEW Line radars out to something like 12 light years.


Yeah, but space is huge, and directional antennae have to be pointed towards each other or there'll be no signal at all. The omnidirectional radiator is sort of the "best case scenario" because it doesnt have to line up. Although I doubt I have to explain that to Fark's resident radio expert, heh.

I figure the major problem is any alien civilization is going to do more or less what we do: aim their radio transmitters mainly toward their own planet. It's pretty long odds that we'll ever have a dish pointed at the right part of the sky just in time to catch backscatter from an alien early warning radar. And then there's hoping the aliens are close enough for us to be able to detect them at all. We'd have a bear of a time detecting alien radars on the other side of the Milky Way.
 
2013-02-12 02:53:57 PM  

Contrabulous Flabtraption: It's entirely possible our understanding of mathematics is so crude, relatively speaking, that even broadcasting a mathematical message wouldn't be worth a more advanced species' time.


a species more advanced than us would likely try to decode the message for the same reason we would: curiosity.
 
2013-02-12 02:57:26 PM  
so does this mean i can uninstall the little seti project app from my windows 95 computers?
 
2013-02-12 03:07:16 PM  
One civilization per galaxy is all you get.

That would give you about 100 billion civilizations in our universe.

How many you need?

/that's my theory, anyway
//Star Trek is not real life.
 
2013-02-12 03:27:42 PM  

Contrabulous Flabtraption: Kazan: Rev. Skarekroe: The problem is that we're looking for aliens that are just like us.
Who says creatures on another planet are using radio?  Who says they care about sending or receiving messages from us?  There's been life on earth for 3.5 billion years and we're the first beings that give a sh*t about this sort of thing. Who says we'll even have the ability to understand each other in the slightest way? Modern humans have been around for 50,000 years and we can still barely communicate with our dogs, much less an alien species.

math is the universal language

It's entirely possible our understanding of mathematics is so crude, relatively speaking, that even broadcasting a mathematical message wouldn't be worth a more advanced species' time.


Alien:

"Ohhhh, 'math'!  You guys are using math.  Yeah, we tried that a long time ago.  Turns out it doesn't really go anywhere.  Kind of a dead end."
 
2013-02-12 03:31:01 PM  

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: dittybopper: Right now, an alien Arecibo equivalent could detect our current ballistic missile early warning radars out to perhaps 8 light years, and the old DEW Line radars out to something like 12 light years.

Yeah, but space is huge, and directional antennae have to be pointed towards each other or there'll be no signal at all. The omnidirectional radiator is sort of the "best case scenario" because it doesnt have to line up. Although I doubt I have to explain that to Fark's resident radio expert, heh.

I figure the major problem is any alien civilization is going to do more or less what we do: aim their radio transmitters mainly toward their own planet. It's pretty long odds that we'll ever have a dish pointed at the right part of the sky just in time to catch backscatter from an alien early warning radar. And then there's hoping the aliens are close enough for us to be able to detect them at all. We'd have a bear of a time detecting alien radars on the other side of the Milky Way.


Actually, we have a whole mess of high powered transmitters aimed at the sky.  In fact, almost all of them are, if you think about it:  radars, TV transmitters, and things like point-to-point microwave links don't actually point at the ground, they point at the horizon, which means that most if not all of their signal is going to go out into space.    True, they don't point straight up, but at microwave frequencies, that doesn't matter:  The ionosphere isn't going to block them from going out into space.

This sort of thing has been known for years.  Sagan and Shklovskii talked about how you could actually get a decent outline of the continents on Earth by mapping out the TV transmitters and radars, noting when they popped up over the horizon and when they dropped back down back in the 1960's.
 
2013-02-12 03:31:05 PM  

Crunch61: I've always though the "fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space" factor of the Drake equation to be over-estimated at 10-20%.

It's a fluke that we ever got past huts and tepees.


Nah, without metals we could have floated along as hunters and gatherers and agrarian Neolithic peoples for eons and eons, but once bronze was developed modern technological civilization was pretty much inevitable.
 
2013-02-12 03:31:46 PM  

Tanukis_Parachute: so does this mean i can uninstall the little seti project app from my windows 95 computers?


If you don't look, you don't find. Of what use is a Windows 95 computer, if not for doing long, slow busy work while you use your good computer to play video games and download pron faster than you could have believed possible five years ago? We've got way too much obsolete or aging technology to junk it all safely and profitably. Might as well use it for public goods.

The SETI researchers aren't surprised by not finding anything because they are perfectly aware of the difficulties and risks of the task they have assigned themselves. Ten years, twenty years, a century, a millennium ... nobody knows how long it might take, although most of the leaders don't expect short or even medium term results but the importance of the question is enough to drive the search. The SETI searchers are well aware that aliens might not broadcast radio signals--but they assume that since at least one species has been dumb enough to do it, other species are likely to be on the same low level of development. In fact, many of the galaxy's species may not have basic cable and may spend their time on the web telling each other that they don't even have a TV.

The universe may be full of hostile monsters who destroy every semi-intelligent species they meet in order to prevent rivals from developing superior organization and power, or it may be full of hipsters who can't be bothered to talk to radio-broadcasting civilizations because we're so primitive we haven't created a sub-universe yet.

But the search goes on and as new ideas for finding signs of life and intelligence occur to researchers, they will be implemented.

At the moment we can just barely detect giant planets in tight orbits around their stars by looking for wobbles and slight regular blips of light such as are produced when you throw a quarter up into the air between a distant observer and a bonfire. We don't know how much of what we consider life to be is universal or peculiar to our world's history.

But it's worth while to think about and search for answers to questions that may take centuries to answer.

After all, we are kept quite amused with questions that took thousands of years to think up, let alone answer. Many of the mathematical puzzles set by mathematicians over the last 400 years have been answered--sometimes with answers that run to book or encyclopedia size--and many remain, generating new puzzles.

I am one of those who do not mourn the loss of a mystery. As somebody observed, there are plenty more mysteries and always will be. Solve one problem, it creates a whole set of new problems of various orders of magnitude greater or smaller than the original problem. Mysteries are unlikely to run out while our species exists in some form or other.
 
2013-02-12 03:35:56 PM  

BafflerMeal: "Ohhhh, 'math'!  You guys are using math.  Yeah, we tried that a long time ago.  Turns out it doesn't really go anywhere.  Kind of a dead end."


i54.tinypic.com

Yes, we like totally worked it out.  At first we were like "What is this shiat?  It don't make no sense, this is like when you see your Mum without her glasses and it don't look like your Mum no more and you're scared".

Yeah, for real, then we worked it out using maths, long division, timesing, carry the four remainder two, that sort of business.
 
2013-02-12 03:51:31 PM  
Ahh the religion of the naturalists.

As we're able to look for planets, while planets are relatively common, It's becoming clearer that the unique features that make earth quite hospitable to life are much, much rarer than anyone had previously guessed:
http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Kepler_Statistical_Analysis_Sugges ts _Earthlike_Planets_Very_Rare_999.html
 
2013-02-12 04:00:41 PM  
You people didn't read the headline!

The real question is:

WHO IS PUTTING UP ALL THOSE STREETLIGHTS?!?!?!
 
2013-02-12 04:08:43 PM  

Tanukis_Parachute: so does this mean i can uninstall the little seti project app from my windows 95 computers?


You could help out with this project now:
http://www.planethunters.org/
 
2013-02-12 04:09:34 PM  

Contrabulous Flabtraption: Kazan: Rev. Skarekroe: The problem is that we're looking for aliens that are just like us.
Who says creatures on another planet are using radio?  Who says they care about sending or receiving messages from us?  There's been life on earth for 3.5 billion years and we're the first beings that give a sh*t about this sort of thing. Who says we'll even have the ability to understand each other in the slightest way? Modern humans have been around for 50,000 years and we can still barely communicate with our dogs, much less an alien species.

math is the universal language

It's entirely possible our understanding of mathematics is so crude, relatively speaking, that even broadcasting a mathematical message wouldn't be worth a more advanced species' time.


I believe the goal isn't to impress an advanced civilization with our math skills. IIRC we have sent out something pretty basic like the first few prime numbers on a repeating loop (one beep, then two, then three, five, seven, back to one) the goal is to make a "WE'RE HERE!" sort of announcement.

Along those lines, any species advanced enough to reach earth from a world light years away probably won't be interested in our tech, at most it will be for scientific reasons, the same way humans study chimps...or dust mites.
 
2013-02-12 04:13:43 PM  
Stats for team "Fark".
 
2013-02-12 04:16:58 PM  

JRaynor: Along those lines, any species advanced enough to reach earth from a world light years away probably won't be interested in our tech, at most it will be for scientific reasons, the same way humans study chimps...or dust mites.


I would imagine if we were contacted by aliens it would be as you say, curiosity.  They won't be interested in our tech, resources, or even slave labor.  They could get all of those much easier and cheaply than crossing vast distances.  They would want to know who/what we are and MAYBE sell us dumb natives trinkets.
 
2013-02-12 04:17:48 PM  

hutchkc: JRaynor: Along those lines, any species advanced enough to reach earth from a world light years away probably won't be interested in our tech, at most it will be for scientific reasons, the same way humans study chimps...or dust mites.

I would imagine if we were contacted by aliens it would be as you say, curiosity.  They won't be interested in our tech, resources, or even slave labor.  They could get all of those much easier and cheaply than crossing vast distances.  They would want to know who/what we are and MAYBE sell us dumb natives trinkets.


I hear we can sell Manhattan for a trunk full of beads.
 
2013-02-12 04:21:29 PM  
Considering their standing orders are to tell the government and no one else, we're never going to hear about it even if they find something. It's never going to be politically convenient.
 
2013-02-12 04:23:13 PM  

BafflerMeal: Alien:

"Ohhhh, 'math'! You guys are using math. Yeah, we tried that a long time ago. Turns out it doesn't really go anywhere. Kind of a dead end."


I am not qualified to deal with this level of stupid

//if snark or sarcasm...you're bad at it and should stop
 
2013-02-12 04:28:22 PM  

BafflerMeal: hutchkc: JRaynor: Along those lines, any species advanced enough to reach earth from a world light years away probably won't be interested in our tech, at most it will be for scientific reasons, the same way humans study chimps...or dust mites.

I would imagine if we were contacted by aliens it would be as you say, curiosity.  They won't be interested in our tech, resources, or even slave labor.  They could get all of those much easier and cheaply than crossing vast distances.  They would want to know who/what we are and MAYBE sell us dumb natives trinkets.

I hear we can sell Manhattan for a trunk full of beads.



That's pretty much exactly what I was thinking.  They will go back home and laugh at how stupid we were to give them a ton of gold/land/etc for $5.
 
2013-02-12 04:31:38 PM  

Delawheredad: qorkfiend

  Simple mathematics. The odds of intelligent life forming are unknown. For intelligence to evolve on our planet for example several major extinctions had to happen first. The dinosaurs ruled the planet for millions of years and never developed intelligence. Therefore on our OWN planet intelligent life is not the norm of the planet's evolution. We have no way of guessing how intelligence evolves on other planets or even if intelligence like ours is a natural end result of evolution. A LOT of things had to happen for us to inherit this planet. For all we know we ARE cosmic accidents.

  The likely hood of that accident happening billions of times as SETI proponents wish to believe is only a wishful conjecture. Intelligent life in the universe is more than likely scattered on distant outposts throughout the galaxies. The odds of any two of those intelligences coming in contact with each other are infinitesimally remote.

  The best situation for humanity is to live like we are the only intelligence in the  universe. No aliens are coming to share their wisdom with us, the cavalry is not coming charging over the hills,  so we have to live as though we are the only spark of intelligence in the galaxy, We are it, We don't get a second chance. we need to preserve our earth, terraform other planets and spread throughout the solar system and eventually the nearby stars.  Like the humans at the end of The  Martian Chronicles in order to meet aliens we have to become them.


Except when you factor in 200 billion stars in our galaxy alone, out of billions of galaxies. Hundreds of billions of billions of stars is the kind of number that makes "infinitesimally  remote" look rather large.
 
2013-02-12 04:42:46 PM  

Stone Meadow: Crunch61: I've always though the "fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space" factor of the Drake equation to be over-estimated at 10-20%.

It's a fluke that we ever got past huts and tepees.

Nah, without metals we could have floated along as hunters and gatherers and agrarian Neolithic peoples for eons and eons, but once bronze was developed modern technological civilization was pretty much inevitable.


You are putting the cart before the horse. Warfare existed long before metalworking. Warfare is between groups of people. All that bronze did was give one group of people an advantage over another. The real boons to agriculture brought about by metal tools didn't materialize until the iron age. (Copper and bronze can't keep an edge well enough for a plow.)

And there are plenty of stone age weapons around. Flint has been used on edged tools/weapons since homo Erectus. If not earlier. As has civilization, navigation, clothing, fire, and so on.
 
2013-02-12 04:43:20 PM  
It is sad that us Humans will never meet alien life.
But it is less sad that the machines who replace us will have plenty of time to discover and exterminate any organic life they come across.
 
2013-02-12 04:46:25 PM  
Mikey1969

  And when you consider that there are light years between even the closest stars and that communication in any practical way is impossible across such a gulf you realize that EVEN IF the galaxy is teeming with intelligent life the odds of any two of those intelligent races even being able to learn of each others existence is ESSENTIALLY ZERO!

  The Universe has isolated us all like random survivors scattered on random shores on random worlds. Your belief in a Star Trek type universe of diverse lifeforms and a crowded galaxy is essentially a religious concept. It is based upon personal desire rather than an understanding of how vast the  universe is.
 
2013-02-12 04:59:06 PM  

Delawheredad: Mikey1969

  And when you consider that there are light years between even the closest stars and that communication in any practical way is impossible across such a gulf you realize that EVEN IF the galaxy is teeming with intelligent life the odds of any two of those intelligent races even being able to learn of each others existence is ESSENTIALLY ZERO!

  The Universe has isolated us all like random survivors scattered on random shores on random worlds. Your belief in a Star Trek type universe of diverse lifeforms and a crowded galaxy is essentially a religious concept. It is based upon personal desire rather than an understanding of how vast the  universe is.


I never said that I "believed" in anything. I merely pointed out the sheer number of stars in this universe, and the fact that it made your number a lot larger than you were representing it as. Then what do you do? You move in a whole new direction, away from the number of planets to distances. If I were to counter that argument, you'd move the goalposts again. I don't really give a fark either way, but quit putting words into my mouth.
 
2013-02-12 05:00:44 PM  
I think the real problem with finding aliens is the time frame. Look, we've only been able to detect space signals (other than light) for about 50 years. That's nothing compared to Earth's timeline:

Earth formed some 4.5 billion years ago.
The first simple life forms developed about 4 billion years ago.
It took another 3 billion years for vertebrates to arise.
Two hundred million years later the first animals emerged from the sea onto land.
A hundred million years later dinosaurs appeared and dominated for yet another 150 million years.
The first mammals appeared about 65 million years ago, taking 60 million years to evolve the earliest humans.
The first modern humans developed about 100,000 years ago.
The Iron Age started about 3000 years ago.
The first high powered transmissions left Earth 75 years ago (detectable only a few tens of light years away).
Two years ago astronomers spent all of 3 months looking at 82 stars for signs of life...without success.
Today Farkistan erupts in outrage because we haven't found anyone else out there.

Fark me to tears.
 
2013-02-12 05:01:33 PM  

Delawheredad: The dinosaurs ruled the planet for millions of years and never developed intelligence.


You don't know that. They might have been some smart motherfarkers, but lacking opposable thumbs were never able to develop any technology.
 
2013-02-12 05:16:26 PM  

Evil Twin Skippy: Stone Meadow: Crunch61: It's a fluke that we ever got past huts and tepees.

Nah, without metals we could have floated along as hunters and gatherers and agrarian Neolithic peoples for eons and eons, but once bronze was developed modern technological civilization was pretty much inevitable.

You are putting the cart before the horse. Warfare existed long before metalworking. Warfare is between groups of people. All that bronze did was give one group of people an advantage over another. The real boons to agriculture brought about by metal tools didn't materialize until the iron age. (Copper and bronze can't keep an edge well enough for a plow.)

And there are plenty of stone age weapons around. Flint has been used on edged tools/weapons since homo Erectus. If not earlier. As has civilization, navigation, clothing, fire, and so on.


I'm talking about technological civilization. The Neolithic was not enough to ignite technological civilization, no matter where it developed. Just look at the Americas, Africa and Oz. Estimates of the population of the Americas immediately prior to the introduction of European diseases range up to 400 million persons. There were a number of MASSIVE civilizations here, but none had hard metals, and none used the wheel, much less mechanized agriculture. Furthermore, there is NO indication they would have developed them had they remained uncontacted. Same thing in Africa and Australia.

So my point remains that it was alloying metals, specifically copper with tin to make bronze, that led directly to modern technological civilization. Furthermore, without that critical step, modern technological civilization CANNOT OCCUR. Once it does, however, modern technological civilization is inevitable.
 
2013-02-12 05:18:27 PM  
Clearly this money needs to be used more pragmatically ... .like a new jet-fighter to defend us against the Taliban Air Force
 
2013-02-12 05:23:24 PM  

Rev. Skarekroe: Who says creatures on another planet are using radio?  Who says they care about sending or receiving messages from us?


No one. They could be using some uber-tech that we can't detect, or they could be hermits, or there could be any number of other reasons that we can't find them, even if they are out there.

Right now, radio waves are the very best hope we have of finding evidence for alien life. We're working on others. We may get to the point where we can do things like looking for free oxygen on nearby exo-planets, but those alternatives are still a long way off.

So we do what we can with what we have and hope for the best.
 
2013-02-12 06:17:59 PM  

Delawheredad: Mikey1969

  And when you consider that there are light years between even the closest stars and that communication in any practical way is impossible across such a gulf you realize that EVEN IF the galaxy is teeming with intelligent life the odds of any two of those intelligent races even being able to learn of each others existence is ESSENTIALLY ZERO!

  The Universe has isolated us all like random survivors scattered on random shores on random worlds. Your belief in a Star Trek type universe of diverse lifeforms and a crowded galaxy is essentially a religious concept. It is based upon personal desire rather than an understanding of how vast the  universe is.


I agree that for a lot of people insisting "there are aliens out there they know we're here but choose not to communicate with us because humanity is wicked" is just theology for the atheistic.

I would love for us to run across another intelligent species but the vast distances of space and enormous lengths of time make the odds of ever meeting another race virtually nil.
 
2013-02-12 06:50:30 PM  

Fano: Delawheredad: Mikey1969

  And when you consider that there are light years between even the closest stars and that communication in any practical way is impossible across such a gulf you realize that EVEN IF the galaxy is teeming with intelligent life the odds of any two of those intelligent races even being able to learn of each others existence is ESSENTIALLY ZERO!

  The Universe has isolated us all like random survivors scattered on random shores on random worlds. Your belief in a Star Trek type universe of diverse lifeforms and a crowded galaxy is essentially a religious concept. It is based upon personal desire rather than an understanding of how vast the  universe is.

I agree that for a lot of people insisting "there are aliens out there they know we're here but choose not to communicate with us because humanity is wicked" is just theology for the atheistic.

I would love for us to run across another intelligent species but the vast distances of space and enormous lengths of time make the odds of ever meeting another race virtually nil.


i'm banking on this being our method of making contact. total accident.

and knowing how things are, we'll both start shooting at each other.

/i really doubt any 'peaceful' race would ever even develop space travel. it's something that i feel could only develop in a highly competitive/aggressive race.
 
2013-02-12 06:50:32 PM  
Well, what are the absolute limits of technology? Is it possible, assuming radically advanced technology, to leave the universe entirely, or to create a new one? If it is, is there any reason why an advanced alien race would stick around in this one? We don't even know if the universe we know is really all there is; there are still a lot of very basic things that we fundamentally do not understand.

Alternatively, perhaps there are intelligent aliens all over the place, and they know we're here, but they just aren't that into us. It's ultimately pointless, after all- contacting other lifeforms, I mean. It's not like we could conduct trade over interstellar distances, so what are we going to do, trade myths and histories? That would no doubt be interesting, and I hope someday it happens, but there is no practical use to it. Perhaps we could trade technology too, but if they're more advanced than us they might not want to. It may be that the very desire to contact extraterrestrials is nothing more than a peculiarity of human psychology, having nothing to do with intelligence per se.
 
2013-02-12 07:26:18 PM  
If we found real proof of life outside of earth I would take it as a sign from above that I should rub it in the face of every religious person in the world.  Your world view is provably false, your dogma is without merit, and your authority on behalf of god is forfeit. Now STFU AND GTFO.

It'll be sweet.
 
2013-02-12 07:29:15 PM  

UseLessHuman: If we found real proof of life outside of earth I would take it as a sign from above that I should rub it in the face of every religious person in the world.  Your world view is provably false, your dogma is without merit, and your authority on behalf of god is forfeit. Now STFU AND GTFO.

It'll be sweet.


The Catholic Church has a prepared response in the event life is discovered elsewhere.
 
2013-02-12 07:30:32 PM  
The naysayers here make many valid points.

However unlikely detecting something on radio might be, not listening/looking, at all, would be really dumb. Why? Because if something is found, it would be kind of a big deal.

Running the SETI app as a screen saver is fun.

-Install the BOINC client (not what you are thinking, you filthy jackanapes)
-Add the SETI project and create an ID. Add other projects you want to support.
-Let your computer crunch away when you are not using it.
In fact, all Farkers should compete to see who can use their computer the least, especially the trolls.
-Use the preferences to set how much CPU to use, when to run, etc.

Start here: http://setiathome.berkeley.edu
 
2013-02-12 07:32:27 PM  
Just about every star in the nearest 1,000 lightyears has a planet or three in the habitable zone.  In the last 4 billion years or so every single one of those planets have received thousands of genome care packages from Earth through inertial interstellar parcel post.  So when we get there the work of making the place habitable will likely have already begun if it hadn't been already.
 
2013-02-12 07:42:55 PM  

UseLessHuman: If we found real proof of life outside of earth I would take it as a sign from above that I should rub it in the face of every religious person in the world.  Your world view is provably false, your dogma is without merit, and your authority on behalf of god is forfeit. Now STFU AND GTFO.

It'll be sweet.


Wow, you sure are going to tell them!

You do know that the Catholic church has said there is likely extra-terrestrials out there, right?
 
2013-02-12 08:05:14 PM  
Weaver95:  if we ever DID find evidence of life on alien planets, i'm pretty damn sure our government would cover it up.

Nope.  Simple reason. They wouldn't believe it until everybody knew it.  You can tell the Government doesn't believe in ETI (and BTW definitely doesn't have proof, like crashed whatever) just by looking at what gets funded and what doesn't.
 
2013-02-12 08:14:45 PM  

Theaetetus: Ishkur: That other life hasn't contacted us is no indication that it does not exist.

Are you sure it hasn't? Consider, we're currently just listening for signals. If we found one, wouldn't the next logical step be to transmit a loud signal at one we detected, and then keep listening and wait for a response? Say, transmit something like:
www.realclearscience.com
So, maybe it's silent because we haven't replied?


No. That's actually a pretty stupid strategy -- the odds against us ever intercepting WOW were (if you'll pardon) astronomical.

To do it once and not repeat regularly would be as stupid as somebody using a giant radio telescope like Arecibo to send a single message at the telescope's dedication ceremony and then not ever repeating that message.

It's just the ultimate cosmic DICK move against alien radio astronomers.
 
2013-02-12 08:27:02 PM  

Somaticasual: Considering their standing orders are to tell the government and no one else, we're never going to hear about it even if they find something. It's never going to be politically convenient.


Not only are there not "standing orders to tell the government", there CAN'T be.  The only way to confirm that you have something interesting to "tell the government" about (which will almost certainly NOT be aliens) is to get other people looking at it -- which is exactly what would happen.   Before the government would know to be interested, thousands or hundreds of thousands of people would know about it.

/and God help us when people started looking for all the hidden messages
 
2013-02-12 08:37:19 PM  

hutchkc: BafflerMeal: hutchkc: JRaynor: Along those lines, any species advanced enough to reach earth from a world light years away probably won't be interested in our tech, at most it will be for scientific reasons, the same way humans study chimps...or dust mites.

I would imagine if we were contacted by aliens it would be as you say, curiosity. They won't be interested in our tech, resources, or even slave labor. They could get all of those much easier and cheaply than crossing vast distances. They would want to know who/what we are and MAYBE sell us dumb natives trinkets.

I hear we can sell Manhattan for a trunk full of beads.

That's pretty much exactly what I was thinking. They will go back home and laugh at how stupid we were to give them a ton of gold/land/etc for $5.


You should all remember... the guy who sold Manhattan for those beads didn't OWN it. He got a bunch of beads for NOTHING.
 
2013-02-12 08:51:12 PM  

Delawheredad: Your belief in a Star Trek type universe of diverse lifeforms and a crowded galaxy is essentially a religious concept. It is based upon personal desire rather than an understanding of how vast the universe is.


Actually, one thing SETI HAS done is prove we're not in a Star Trek type universe (although detailed Lunar photography proves the same thing).

Star Trek's universe is so crowded you can't swing a dead cat without hitting three Klingons, a Ferengi, and a cosmically aware energy being descended from one of your own space probes.  You can travel 3/4s of the way across the galaxy and STILL meet people you know!  StarTrek's "final frontier" has all the majestic isolation of Rhode Island.

In Star Trek's universe, the existence of intelligent civilizations would be fairly obvious even with our level of investigation.  (And over a billion years of time, the lunar surface would be fairly littered with alien picnic baskets and beer cans)
 
2013-02-12 09:08:52 PM  

UseLessHuman: If we found real proof of life outside of earth I would take it as a sign from above that I should rub it in the face of every religious person in the world.  Your world view is provably false, your dogma is without merit, and your authority on behalf of god is forfeit. Now STFU AND GTFO.

It'll be sweet.


notsureifserious.jpg
 
2013-02-12 09:13:39 PM  
So they took a thimble full of sea water and weren't surprised they haven't found a whale yet?
 
2013-02-12 10:30:43 PM  

Kazan: Rev. Skarekroe: The problem is that we're looking for aliens that are just like us.
Who says creatures on another planet are using radio?  Who says they care about sending or receiving messages from us?  There's been life on earth for 3.5 billion years and we're the first beings that give a sh*t about this sort of thing. Who says we'll even have the ability to understand each other in the slightest way? Modern humans have been around for 50,000 years and we can still barely communicate with our dogs, much less an alien species.

math is the universal language


that and various spectrum and phenomena behave the same way across time and space. radio is a good method of communication because it is a good method of communication. granted there is exotic and esoteric means available now and likely much to be imagined but it's not unreasonable to expect many potential lifeforms across many potential epochs would be using various obvious natural phenomena in their societies.
 
2013-02-12 10:44:43 PM  

OhioKnight: /and God help us when people started looking for all the hidden messages


B_E_S_U_R_E_T_O_D_R_I_N_K_Y_O_U_R_O_V_A_L_T_I_N_E
 
2013-02-12 10:46:28 PM  

OrbitalFerret: The naysayers here make many valid points.

However unlikely detecting something on radio might be, not listening/looking, at all, would be really dumb. Why? Because if something is found, it would be kind of a big deal.

Running the SETI app as a screen saver is fun.

-Install the BOINC client (not what you are thinking, you filthy jackanapes)
-Add the SETI project and create an ID. Add other projects you want to support.
-Let your computer crunch away when you are not using it.
In fact, all Farkers should compete to see who can use their computer the least, especially the trolls.
-Use the preferences to set how much CPU to use, when to run, etc.

Start here: http://setiathome.berkeley.edu


Also, it's relatively cheap to look for alien intelligence. I'll take Pascals Wager for this one. I hate to be on the side of the naysayers, but there are some physical limits to the universe. Some robotic probe may make first contact, but unless there is a major loophole for bulk teleportation, the speed of light will continue to make us its biatch.
 
2013-02-12 10:47:02 PM  
keep trying
people need jobs...
 
2013-02-13 12:17:21 AM  

OhioKnight: Somaticasual: Considering their standing orders are to tell the government and no one else, we're never going to hear about it even if they find something. It's never going to be politically convenient.

Not only are there not "standing orders to tell the government", there CAN'T be.  The only way to confirm that you have something interesting to "tell the government" about (which will almost certainly NOT be aliens) is to get other people looking at it -- which is exactly what would happen.   Before the government would know to be interested, thousands or hundreds of thousands of people would know about it.

/and God help us when people started looking for all the hidden messages


Standing orders was a mis-phrasing, but you're welcome to read their protocol : <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SETI#Post_detection_disclosure_pro tocol ">Wiki - SETI - Post detection protocol</a>. A few folks are notified in the chain, but ultimately the US government is told then the ball's in their court.
 
2013-02-13 02:23:49 AM  

dittybopper: This sort of thing has been known for years.  Sagan and Shklovskii talked about how you could actually get a decent outline of the continents on Earth by mapping out the TV transmitters and radars, noting when they popped up over the horizon and when they dropped back down back in the 1960's.


Okay, that's pretty cool. Hadn't heard that one before.
 
2013-02-13 03:04:54 AM  

OhioKnight: Theaetetus: Ishkur: That other life hasn't contacted us is no indication that it does not exist.

Are you sure it hasn't? Consider, we're currently just listening for signals. If we found one, wouldn't the next logical step be to transmit a loud signal at one we detected, and then keep listening and wait for a response? Say, transmit something like:
www.realclearscience.com
So, maybe it's silent because we haven't replied?

No. That's actually a pretty stupid strategy -- the odds against us ever intercepting WOW were (if you'll pardon) astronomical.

To do it once and not repeat regularly would be as stupid as somebody using a giant radio telescope like Arecibo to send a single message at the telescope's dedication ceremony and then not ever repeating that message.

It's just the ultimate cosmic DICK move against alien radio astronomers.


That just made way to much farking sense. 

Humans, troll of the galaxy?
 
2013-02-13 06:18:48 AM  

slayer199: So, because they haven't found anything we should just give up looking...right?  That's how science is done...can't find it...give up.

The universe is so fast vast, it is likely that there's intelligent live out there...but it's so massive we may will never find it in our lifetimes.


FTFY.

Of course science is about never giving up, but even science should recognize when a particular avenue of pursuit is futile.  I remember being all high about SETI too, and then I read Robert Park's argument against it in Voodoo Science.  Highly recommended reading, unless you want to keep admiring SETI, in which case I suggest you don't read it.
 
2013-02-13 06:21:09 AM  

karmachameleon: slayer199: So, because they haven't found anything we should just give up looking...right?  That's how science is done...can't find it...give up.

The universe is so fast vast, it is likely that there's intelligent live out there...but it's so massive we may will never find it in our lifetimes.

FTFY.

Of course science is about never giving up, but even science should recognize when a particular avenue of pursuit is futile.  I remember being all high about SETI too, and then I read Robert Park's argument against it in Voodoo Science.  Highly recommended reading, unless you want to keep admiring SETI, in which case I suggest you don't read it.


I believe he was referring to how quickly things grow and die over time. Carl Sagan thought that shiattons of civilizations destroyed themselves before they had the ability to communicate with other planets.
 
2013-02-13 06:39:40 AM  

Mikey1969: I never said that I "believed" in anything. I merely pointed out the sheer number of stars in this universe, and the fact that it made your number a lot larger than you were representing it as. Then what do you do? You move in a whole new direction, away from the number of planets to distances. If I were to counter that argument, you'd move the goalposts again. I don't really give a fark either way, but quit putting words into my mouth.


He didn't say his main argument was about the number of planets, you did.  Who is putting words in whose mouth?

The argument is always about the distances involved.  What do the number of planets have to do with anything?  The more planets, the more the chances increase, so that would never be an argument for why SETI is a futile exercise.  The distances and time scales are why we will likely never communicate with an alien intelligence.  People who think otherwise really are imagining a Star Trek-type universe, where two spaceships can casually meet up at the exact same spot in space by pure accident.  Star Trek, frankly, gets it all wrong and makes the galaxy seem hopelessly intimate.  The distances involved in space are so vast you can't even imagine them if you know exactly what they are.  The timescales involved in using radio signals is similar - our own civilization is already abandoning radio after only about 100 years of use, so why would we assume any alien intelligence wouldn't have also moved on in a similarly short time period?

I am certain that there is alien intelligence out there, and I'm equally certain we'll never know about it, and they will never know about us.  We may not be alone precisely, but we are most definitely on our own.
 
2013-02-13 02:32:34 PM  
Aliens: no evidence, but I want to believe

God: LOL Sky Wizard!!

/Welcome to Fark
 
2013-02-13 04:26:30 PM  

Rev. Skarekroe: The problem is that we're looking for aliens that are just like us.
Who says creatures on another planet are using radio?  Who says they care about sending or receiving messages from us?  There's been life on earth for 3.5 billion years and we're the first beings that give a sh*t about this sort of thing. Who says we'll even have the ability to understand each other in the slightest way? Modern humans have been around for 50,000 years and we can still barely communicate with our dogs, much less an alien species.


Actually, they're looking for aliens quite a bit different than us.  We've only halfheartedly sent signals into deep space.  To put it simply - we wouldn't be able to detect ourselves from Alpha Centari.

Our SETI search would be able to detect a 1GW EIRP transmitter at 200 ly, assuming it's within the right frequency range.  But this would require the aliens to be transmitting directly at us, potentially for millions of years.  They wouldn't be able to detect us without a receiver far more massive than our largest dish - I'm picturing something like a solar system spanning distributed receiver system.

Basically, we've already figured out that if there's other life out there that's both intelligent and technological, it's probably more than 200ly away, at which point it'd need to either be transmitting with a whole lot more energy(when we happen to be 'listening' to boot), or 'listening' a whole lot harder.  IE they'd have to be quite a bit more advanced, or at least developed - the sorts of scales I'm thinking of would practically require deep space installations to gain the necessary power/sensitivity.

Heck, even if you assume that they have powerful enough sensors to detect the changes an advanced civilization makes to the planet, it's going to be more than 100 years before the information reaches them.
 
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