The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence: SETI

SETI stands for the Seek for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. Kindly note that the word ‘radio’ seems nowhere in that phrase, yet searching for artificial radio transmissions from extraterrestrial civilizations seems to be close to synonymous with SETI, as strengthened by way of the popular film “Contact” (based mostly on Carl Kruse SETI Profile Sagan’s novel). Now there is nothing unsuitable with radio SETI. The search for radio waves has been nicely thought out and would appear to offer up the maximum likelihood for success. However, there are more methods to skin the SETI cat (as it were), and after 49 years of searching primarily through radio, I counsel that some more ways be adopted and explored. Any a part of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum is suitable and up for investigation, equivalent to optical SETI (searching for laser beams) or infrared SETI (searching for Dyson Spheres) or just looking for alien artifacts (as within the novel/film “2001: A House Odyssey”). From that, we note that one can approach the research of UFOs and/or historic astronauts as representing a form of SETI. Whatever investigation tells you that extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) exists, or once existed, or would not exist in any respect (and a negative result is as necessary as a constructive one) is SETI.

Why do SETI at all? That is an apparent first question. Happily, there are lots of good solutions to that question. There’s pure scientific curiosity for starters – exploring just for the sake of exploring. Then there’s the more philosophical approach in that SETI helps to better decide our place within the cosmos. A negative reply is just as important as a optimistic reply in figuring out whether or not humanity is exclusive, top of the heap, one of many nice unwashed cosmic crowd, or the new boy on the block. SETI has a sensible side too in determining the existence of potential neighbors which might be sources of profit and/or threats to us. Clearly, a select few scientists, SETI fans, have long felt that SETI was, and is, worth doing. Radio SETI is (as of this writing), a quite mature science now 49 years old.

Now if seven is a lucky number, then seven occasions seven must be even luckier, yet, some forty nine years after the first radio SETI experiment (Project Ozma) was conducted by Dr. Frank D. Drake, there’s be no luck in detecting any signal of every other technological extraterrestrial civilization (forty nine years as I write this – it’s even longer now). What does this recommend to us as a life kind with an evolved technological civilization? Where are our ‘kin’ on the market among the stars?

Firstly, it means that radio SETI isn’t going to be quite as simple as first envisioned. The number-crunching back in those early days suggested that ETI with a suitable detectable technology (radio emissions or fairly transmissions) can be fairly common. Despite the fact that only a relative few of those haystack stalks have been sifted for that needle, it is changing into clearer that form of SETI is not going to be simple; N (the number of technologically radio speaking ETI in the cosmos) is not going to be an especially massive number. So, some constraints on the SETI idea and logic have come home to roost.

When it comes to the search to this point, it is clear (to me anyway) that there aren’t any Type III civilizations (able to harness the energy output of an entire galaxy) in any galaxy even remotely ‘shut’ (in cosmic terms) to us. If there have been any Type 2 civilizations (capacity to command the energy output of a complete star) practically in our personal galaxy it should have proved fairly obvious by now. There have been in fact many false alarms, but additionally a number of cases that looked like a constructive signal was received. Alas, all have been one-offs and have by no means been picked up again. With out verification, those ‘wow’ signals stay enigmas, but not proof optimistic of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI).

Firstly, my clarification as to why we’ve not detected ETI via radio-SETI 49 years on. I consider it unlikely within the extreme that any ETI would deliberately goal our dad or mum star and solar system. We’re just too average. There isn’t any compelling reason to target Sol as opposed to hundreds of 1000’s of different stars. Even if they did, what are the odds that their concentrating on us would just happen to coincide with our evolving the requited know-how to detect identical? What if we were targeted, however 1000’s, possibly thousands and thousands of years ago? ETI gave up the ghost and focused elsewhere!