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.
In the future, we hope that a global army of open-source code developers, students and other experts in digital signal processing, as well as citizen scientists willing to lend their intelligence to our exploration, will have access to the same technology and join our quest.
SETI's data, compiled from 25 years of scanning the skies with advanced astronomical telescopes, will be made available on a special SETI website this summer, at which point users can take whatever data sets they wish and comb through them looking for patterns or noise that SETI's algorithms may have overlooked. The site is currently configured for those with some kind of background in signal processing and the like, but SETI is working to make it more accessible to users of all backgrounds and ages.
Whether or not this shift represents frustration within SETI or simply a change in tactics befitting of the time, it vastly increases the raw brainpower that the organization has at its disposal, and that can't be bad for an organization that has a lot of universe to cover. In Tarter's words, "all of the SETI searching over the past 50 years is equivalent to examining one 8-ounce glass of water from the Earth's oceans." Maybe this change in policy will tip the scales ever so slightly in our favor.
I don't understand the logic behind SETI.What are the odds in this immense universe that there is a civilization whose technological progress approximates ours? In other words,some intelligent beings are still living in caves.The rest are tens or hundreds of thousands of years ahead of us technologically.Any radio signals they sent out when they were at our stage of development were sent many thousands of years ago.Presumably,they now have more advanced means of long distance communication,which we don't understand,or aren't listening for.
The galaxy could be teeming with life,and earth could be quarantined as a culture too primitive and violent to deal with.
The odds are slim to say the least. However, a civilization that reached radio-transmission capabilities thousands of years ago would be great, because their radio signals could just be passing us now. Speed of light is a wonderful thing.
The question obviously isn't to establish contact. We have been emitting radio signals for decades. Another civilization within reach would also need to have been sending them for decades. The question is more biological and abstract; how special is Earth. Is other life out there? And of course, the self-interested question: can we benefit from their technology or knowledge? Can we record our existence with them?"
On the "undetectable technologies" point, there are a few key things looked for when trying to detect life. One is a uniform pattern; not uniform, no readable message, therefore no communication. Two is simply radio-waves (electromagnetic radiation), because they move at the speed of light. There isn't anything faster, so it stands to reason that a civilization close or even millennia past our development are still using it presently ('the present' once accounted for light speed delay). Three is that they would emit electromagnetic radiation from their technologies in space, regardless of how they communicate. It can't be avoided, and so artificially regular emissions of radio-waves are also looked for. If not a message, then the effect of some sort of sentients'' machine.
It is conceivable that they have found a way to manipulate quantum entanglement, or tachyons to transmit information faster or immediately, but that is no reason not to look for them.
By your own argument, the galaxy could be teeming with life. You speculation of quarantine however, is silly to say the least. While they can ignore us, it would be impossible to prevent radio signals from reaching us. And they also can't all be at an advanced stage of communication that doesn't employ radio waves, because that would require another scenario you deemed impossible: they all must have developed at the same time (again, accounting for light-speed delay).
Your pessimistic argument is self-contradictory, and shows a completely callous and uninformed sense of "the logic behind SETI". Thank you for adding garbage to the internet.
well, they'll keep trying and maybe find other beings or the e.t's will find us.
Ff we do find other life forms, we might enjoy our finds or... regret it unfortunetly. So this means the results will determine a new beginning or an old end or more possibly nothing at all. Good luck though
brian144: If a civilization reached our level thousands of years ago,that would imply they are thousands of light-years distant,and their signals would be extremely attenuated after travelling that distance.
I agree that communication with any aliens is not practicable,unless they are only a dozen or so light-years distant.It therefore follows that we can't learn about their technology if we can't communicate with them.
It does not necessarily stand to reason that a culture tens or hundreds of thousands of years ahead of us is still using radio for communication.Your reasoning makes me think of prominent scientists of the 1890s declaring with certainty that heavier than air flight was and would always be impossible,only a decade before Kitty Hawk.We can't accurately predict what the world will be like 20 years from now,let alone thousands of years!
I never suggested that the universe was not teeming with life.My argument was that we may be segregated from other cultures for several reasons,not least because we can't seem to live in peace with our own species.For another,contact with a vastly superior technology could lead to the structural collapse of our society.Why bother to strive if someone has been there,and done that already? Look what happened to native cultures when Europeans landed in the New World.
Finally,if you can't present your arguments in a civil manner,without flaming others,perhaps you are on the wrong website.
The other aspect to think about in this is if they have left some of their old tech running as a beacon for other civilizations. A digital and technological time capsule.
we probably don't want to assume that our technological path will be similar to another species. We can't judge another species technological advancements by how many years they have been developing it. Technology like life, branches off, there is no linear path. 90% of our own technology was created in the last 75 years of all of human history. Who is to say whose technology would be superior between ours and another species? All of our technology wouldn't be beneficial to them, nor would theirs to us.
there is no peace among any of the life on earth. As we know it on earth, life is just a battle for energy. Whether it be in the sense of a lion digesting a gazelle or a war for oil. We shouldn't expect the universe to be any different
jmadrigal12: Some astronomers are of the opinion that we have not detected aliens because once they develop atomic weapons,they destroy themselves.As you are aware,we have had more than a few close calls on earth.The worst one was probably the Cuban Missile Crisis.
If a civilization survives it's nuclear age,it is because it learned to live peacefully with it's fellow creatures.Once the secret of fusion energy is discovered,there would be no reason to fight,as there would be plenty of energy and resources for all.The animal kingdom doesn't possess technology,so it can continue it's primeval struggle for energy till hell freezes over.
What concerns me is, if SETI opens its archives to everybody, there could be a lot of folks "crying wolf". Just as an example, some conspiracy-theory guy could whip up a complex program looking for what he thinks might be encoded alien messages. When something triggers the program, he calls the nearest newspaper, to report it before the "Men in Black" come for him. The next morning, his story could be all over the tabloids. Too much of this, and SETI - the organization, its data, and its goal - would become even more of a laughingstock than it already is in the press. I'd hate to see the search for other civilizations called off on account of human stupidity.