Since the first binary code sent from Puerto Rico in 1974, our messages to aliens have been increasingly complicated and cryptic, possibly so much that extraterrestrials won't get what we're saying.
A trio of astrophysicists from the US and France hope to change that by building an extraterrestrial messaging protocol, so any spacebound communiqué could be easily understood.
If we ever find aliens, there's a good chance they'll be intelligent machines, not biological systems as we know them. So says a senior SETI astronomer.
Writing in the journal Acta Astronautica, Seth Shostak says we ought to turn our attention to galactic centers and hot, young stars — likely areas of interest to machines because of their plentiful supplies of energy and matter.
Over the past decade, those who wished to contribute to SETI's mission of locating life elsewhere in the universe could leave their computers on running a special screensaver and donate their unused computing power to the cause. Now, SETI director Jill Tarter is asking people around the globe to get more involved in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence by opening up SETI's servers to the public calling for a worldwide, open source contribution to the search.
Until recently, radio astronomers have concentrated almost exclusively on the high-energy radiation streaming in towards Earth from exotic stellar bodies like pulsars, quasars, and super-massive black holes. But now, a new European observatory called the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) has begun releasing data on the low-energy radiation that permeates the Universe.
Fifty years ago today, on April 8th, 1960, a Cornell astronomy professor named Frank Drake pointed a radio telescope at the star Tau Ceti in the hope of hearing broadcasts from extraterrestrial intelligence. Naturally, he didn't hear anything out of the ordinary. But with this experiment, Drake began the decades-long search for aliens, known as the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), that celebrates its 50th anniversary today. Over the last half century, SETI has failed at its initial goal of contacting aliens, but succeeded mightily in bringing new attention to astronomy, helping to develop cloud computing, and inspiring generations of new scientists.
This week, scientists from around the globe converge on Cambridge University in England to discuss mankind's relationship with intelligent life from beyond the stars. So far, the news is not promising.
So far, the search for extraterrestrial life beyond our solar system has focused on finding Earth-like planets. And sure, planets are great, since we know at least one of them harbors life. But David Kipping of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics thinks that search might be a tad too narrow. In a new paper, Kipping described how current technology can be re-tasked to search for another life-bearing body: moons.
After years of lagging behind in the acceptance of scientific fact, the Vatican has not only caught up, but, with a conference this week, moved far past the boundaries of modern science. Yes, 376 years after they condemned Galileo for discussing a heliocentric solar system, and a mere 16 years after pardoning him for it, the Vatican will host a conference on astrobiology and the existence of extraterrestrial life.
After almost 50 years of waiting for aliens to contact us, Australia's Cosmos Magazine has decided to be a bit more proactive. In honor of Australia's national science week, the magazine is giving you a chance to have a message of your choice beamed to the nearest Earth-like planet.