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SETI search shows no signs of intell. life

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A great thread and wonderful comments which have made me consider this:

Putting aside everything we already 'know' (either know to be actual fact or know to be possible fact) let's consider what if -we- yes, us, Humans are the 'advanced' species and the reason as to why we haven't heard anything from anyone or any other beings, is that -they- are the ones that are not as technologically advanced as we are. I do not suggest this with a tone of Human vanity or Human elitism. This is purely from a 'what if' perspective (regardless of pure scientific fact or knowledge) This consideration is just one of the many hypothetical (as we actually do not know if we are really 'alone') reasons as to why we haven't had anyone knocking on our door or us being able to find a door in which to knock.

So far, according to the article the OP linked, we have only searched a very very small portion of our section of space. (visible section of space based on what our technology is able to provide us). And to be able to do that took some time to process.

Personally, I think overall given the time in which our technology has grown within the last 50 years and given how much our scientific 'awareness' has developed, I am more confident of us, Humans, being able to detect a signal that we may have already overlooked. Its akin to how our brains function when we read. The more we read the more familiar our brains get used to seeing certain words and those words are skipped over.

( http://www.bigsiteof...-instead-of-six )

So, with that understanding, that is why I think we should allow for this and adjust our technological advancements accordingly. As far as I know, we develop our technology and so it makes sense to me to develop that technology on a scale that is not better than our brains but on a scale to where our technology can adjust to help our brains see or in this case 'hear' better, when we use that technology.

'Bark! Bark!'

"What is it?"

'BARK!'

"Hush now. It's no one at the door."

'BARK BARK!'

"Okay, okay. It's nothing I'm sure of it, but show me anyway."

'Bark. (wags tail)'

"What a clever boy! I just checked that mouse trap last week and saw nothing and totally forgot all about it. And yet you managed to tell let me know to go check it. I see there is now a deceased mouse there. Thanks for letting me know.'

I know the above example is a stretch... but I hope it does convey the 'concept' of which I tried to explain without losing the original intention of explanation.

(btw, we don't have mouse problem, but they do like to come inside during colder weather and it's winter in England here.)

Kind Regards. :tu:

Welcome to UM :D

Great post, despite the negative comments of the stronger ET proponents, you are completely correct, and nobody can prove you wrong. It could well be either way, and there is no reason to think we are not the most advanced, I agree, some like to think there is an almighty out there to solve all our problems for us, but in reality, if you want something done, the best option is usually to do it yourself. I wonder how statistical principals that consider us to be relatively young with regards to other life factor in HD 140283? A star as old as the Universe itself is in our celestial neighbourhood. It does not have planets that support life, but what the heck is it doing here close to us? 13.2 billion years old, 190 light years away?

Nothing is certain. Your thoughts are as good as anyones.

3544e8.jpeg

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If someone else has brought this up in apologize.

Does anyone else feel as though astronomers and physicist might be out of their realm here? I am not hinting at Grand conspiracies or some sort of derogatory "rigid orthodoxy". I have a feeling that there is something flawed about the process in the detection of exoplanets. My reasoning is based on my limited understanding of past theories regarding the universe around us. It is almost like the science is moving too fast and too sure. It is not often I have felt that way since I have a understanding of the scientific process. I can accept that we might detect large gas giants or binary systems with brown dwarves (not swarthy bearded folk with a penchant for leather and axes/hammers). I dunno I, again, have a very basic understanding of the process but it is almost like in the excitement at finding something the assumption that everything found is set in stone. We only have our own solar system to observe with certainty and these newly (relatively) found systems seem too bizarre (gas giants zipping around a star in days?). I'm likely talking out my rear but this time it seems too sure. Are there any credible challenges to the accepted process?

Don't get me wrong. I know there must be other planets around other stars.

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It'll be grand. Eventually we'll find something.

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If someone else has brought this up in apologize.

Does anyone else feel as though astronomers and physicist might be out of their realm here? I am not hinting at Grand conspiracies or some sort of derogatory "rigid orthodoxy". I have a feeling that there is something flawed about the process in the detection of exoplanets. My reasoning is based on my limited understanding of past theories regarding the universe around us. It is almost like the science is moving too fast and too sure. It is not often I have felt that way since I have a understanding of the scientific process. I can accept that we might detect large gas giants or binary systems with brown dwarves (not swarthy bearded folk with a penchant for leather and axes/hammers). I dunno I, again, have a very basic understanding of the process but it is almost like in the excitement at finding something the assumption that everything found is set in stone. We only have our own solar system to observe with certainty and these newly (relatively) found systems seem too bizarre (gas giants zipping around a star in days?). I'm likely talking out my rear but this time it seems too sure. Are there any credible challenges to the accepted process?

Don't get me wrong. I know there must be other planets around other stars.

I think the media tends to overreach itself a little in this area when reporting, but the best way to mess a story up is to tell it to the general press. Most planets are not confirmed, but merely candidates. To the best in my knowledge, latest figures cite that there are now 909 confirmed exoplanets and a further 2740 candidates awaiting confirmation. The media tends to make numbers sound much more certain than the situation is.

Which is still a tiny portion of what we understand to be out there. If the best option is realised and assume we will find everything there is to find, then we have so far stumbled upon 3650 planets in a sea of One hundred billion planets. That is a very small percentage that we have managed to discover.

Edited by psyche101

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If someone else has brought this up in apologize.

Does anyone else feel as though astronomers and physicist might be out of their realm here? I am not hinting at Grand conspiracies or some sort of derogatory "rigid orthodoxy". I have a feeling that there is something flawed about the process in the detection of exoplanets. My reasoning is based on my limited understanding of past theories regarding the universe around us. It is almost like the science is moving too fast and too sure. It is not often I have felt that way since I have a understanding of the scientific process. I can accept that we might detect large gas giants or binary systems with brown dwarves (not swarthy bearded folk with a penchant for leather and axes/hammers). I dunno I, again, have a very basic understanding of the process but it is almost like in the excitement at finding something the assumption that everything found is set in stone. We only have our own solar system to observe with certainty and these newly (relatively) found systems seem too bizarre (gas giants zipping around a star in days?). I'm likely talking out my rear but this time it seems too sure. Are there any credible challenges to the accepted process?

Don't get me wrong. I know there must be other planets around other stars.

Keep in mind that because it's early days in exoplanet detection and the ones they are finding are typically the ones that are easiest to find.

Very large planets close to stars are in general a lot easier to detect and confirm than smaller planet further out.

This is why as the technology and methods improve they are finding more and more terrestrial planets along with the gas giants that were first discovered.

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The civilizations on the exoplanets just don't want to answer the phone, simple as that..

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Since we haven't been calling them, but only listening, that's not really clear. Our willingness to transmit, called 'active SETI', on a consistent basis, instead of the few very brief 'one-shot' experiments that have been tried, might draw a response. This could happen, if for no other reason, because of our showing our serious intention to try to contact the rest of the galaxy.

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Surely, if They've "studied" (i.e. pointed Radio teleescopes at, just in case they might pick up any stray radio transmission) 86 stars, no one could possibly draw any conclsuions from that at all? They couldn't even conclude that there doesn't mean there's Intelligent life around any of those 86 stars, and studying 86 stars is like picking up a few grains of sand from a beach.

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I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If there's intelligent life out there, then it's so scarce that the possibility of detecting a signal is next to none.

Given Drake's equation, SETI should have gotten a "hit" the very first time they fired up. Sure, they wouldn't all be using "primitive" radio signals to communicate. But let's say only .001 percent of the possible civilizations out there use exactly what we use. There are literally trillions upon trillions upon trillions of stars in the universe. The majority likely have planets.

The entire dial should have been lit up as soon as SETI turned on.

No, because to receive any radio signal from any distance away (i,.e. interstellar distances), any signal would have to be beamed specifially at you, and be powerful enough to be discernible over that distance. background clutter, over that kind of distacne, wouldn't be identifiable as any kind of message, it'd just be lost in the background noise of Space. Apaprently, that was one thing that Carl Sagan got wrong.

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There will be no secrecy, and getting the word out quickly is important, as there would be an urgent need to have astronomers world-wide monitor any detected signal, 24 hours a day.

Here is more,... http://www.seti.org/faq

Yep thats right.... the govt never holds secrets....never have never will.

They get that info out as quick as they can. Great thinking !!

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Yep thats right.... the govt never holds secrets....never have never will.

They get that info out as quick as they can. Great thinking !!

Based on your post Im guessing you are one of those people who believes in a one world super government like the Illuminati or something.

If not, you are doing a common CT thought blunder here. Not all astronomers (thousands world wide) are controlled by the US government. Keeping something like this a secret would be impossible.

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Yep thats right.... the govt never holds secrets....never have never will.

They get that info out as quick as they can. Great thinking !!

Governments have no known SETI projects. The SETI projects one sees discussed here and elsewhere, or referred to in the news media, are sponsored by private organizations.

Even if a government wanted to silence a SETI discovery by one of these projects, the way that scientific discoveries are vetted would very probably prevent this. Long before it was openly admitted that a possible SETI signal had been found, many other observatories, in a number of countries, would be asked to look for it.

Suppose that the signal is real, and others hear it, too. By the time the discovery is really known to be genuine, and this is openly admitted, the news will have been too widely spread by private channels of communications within the scientific community to be suppressed.

The only way a government might be able to suppress such a discovery would be to monitor the internal communications of SETI organizations constantly, and the minute a possible SETI signal appeared, jump in and cut off their access to the outside world, and hold its principal members incommunicado indefinitely.

Such possible SETI signals have been detected a number of times. It has variously taken hours, days, or weeks, or months to determine that these were merely man-made interference or natural phenomena. In the meantime, the SETI people report no government swooping in and silencing them.

Edited by bison
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Yep thats right.... the govt never holds secrets....never have never will.

They get that info out as quick as they can. Great thinking !!

heh I think we can safely say.. you really do not know how SETI operates .. or understand how it operates..

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The fact that SETI heard nothing is disappointing but not really unexpected. If SETI researchers on other planets had pointed their antennas at us for the last 3 .5 billion years they would have heard nothing until very, very recently. They would have heard nothing at all before the last 100 years or so.

Yet this planet is teeming with all sorts of critters, some even claim to be intelligent and have developed radio technology. This radio technology does beacon a technologically advanced species to anyone 'out there' who may be listening. This may or may not be a good thing depending on the disposition of the ET's receiving our signals, and whether or not they have the technology to get here.

The physics of electromagnetic radio waves are universal, so listening for radio signals from ET is not as daft as many think. It's not like trying to receive smoke signals on a radio. An ET radio signal could be detected and identified as a synthetic structured signal that had been generated by an intelligent technologically advanced alien species even if we couldn't actually decode the message. if it was narrow band and contained modulation then it is a structured synthetic signal that has been generated by a technological device that has been built by some critter, not something generated by nature. An intelligent alien species may well go through industrial development leading to electricity and then on to radio technology, why wouldn't they? It's a logical progression for any "intelligent" species.

It may be that the planets surveyed are not at that level of technological development yet, they may still be living in caves or floating around in galleons. Or they may be so far in advance of us that they no longer use radio waves, or their processing of very small radio signals is so good that the levels of radio energy they transmit is far too low to be detected beyond their planet. Radio signals don't just travel out into space and keep going and going at the same signal strength, they get progressively weaker the further they get from the source.There are many reasons that may account for the lack of signals out there even though there may be much life.

Remember too that SETI have heard "good candidate" signals in the past. The new SKA will be many times more sensitive than anything in operation at the moment, that may just be sensitive enough to pick up an ET version of cornflake adverts.

It's an old saying but it's absolutely true "the only way to guarantee you don't hear a signal from ET is to not listen for one". They could be detecting a signal from ET as I'm typing this, you never know. They have to keep listening.

Personally I think the galaxy is teeming with life, it's only a matter of time before we 'know' it's teeming with life.

If it turns out that these planets in the "goldilocks zone" of their stars don't have any intelligent critters occupying them, just their equivalent of dinosaurs and tigers etc, they would be good candidates for colonies. That is of course after CERN get their current set of experiments completed and we can seriously consider inter-stellar travel.

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There would be serious ethical problems with colonizing a planet that already had life on it, even though it was not advanced. We would in effect be denying what might evolve there any chance to do so.

I suspect it would also not be possible. The local critters would have a different and probably highly poisonous (to us) chemistry.

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There would be serious ethical problems with colonizing a planet that already had life on it, even though it was not advanced. We would in effect be denying what might evolve there any chance to do so.

I suspect it would also not be possible. The local critters would have a different and probably highly poisonous (to us) chemistry.

To be honest I don't think any serious ethical problems would arise under these circumstances. The period of time required for the development of man from the time of the dinosaurs was hundreds of millions of years. No-one would just leave a nice juicy habitable planet in that state of development to its own devices. It could potentially be colonized by an ET species and would be lost to us if we just left it alone.

There are very good examples of how ethical colonization has been in the past right here. North America and Australia are excellent examples, and the indigenous life forms were a lot more advanced than dinosaurs.

As far as the local critters being poisonous goes, I live in Australia, almost everything here that wriggles is poisonous. If the planet was in the 'goldilocks zone' and had developing life on it this would most likely be because it had water, saltwater oceans just like here. I think this would lead to a biological environment similar enough to here to allow us to co-habit with the local critters. If it didn't have a similar biosphere we probably wouldn't be interested in living there.

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I'm thinking quite otherwise; ethics would tell me to leave a biological system alone and let it do its thing. I also think that we were similarly treated may be the explanation for why in all these billions of years we have not been contaminated by external life forms.

As far as poisonous stuff goes, what you see evolved here is child's play compared to what nature could cook up if it were using completely different genetic coding systems. Same water and so on, but no proteins, probably not even amino acids. Completely alien and therefore almost certainly deadly.

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Posted (edited)

I'm thinking quite otherwise; ethics would tell me to leave a biological system alone and let it do its thing. I also think that we were similarly treated may be the explanation for why in all these billions of years we have not been contaminated by external life forms.

As far as poisonous stuff goes, what you see evolved here is child's play compared to what nature could cook up if it were using completely different genetic coding systems. Same water and so on, but no proteins, probably not even amino acids. Completely alien and therefore almost certainly deadly.

I think realistically by the time we have the technology to travel to other star systems we will be running out of room here. We will need to colonize other planets in order to perpetuate our own species and the same ethics that applied when North America and Australia were colonized will apply. I think this would certainly happen if the planet was only populated by their equivalent of dinosaurs. It would probably happen if the planet was populated by their equivalent of cavemen. If it were populated by critters building their equivalent of galleons etc and it was obvious they would develop into a technological civilization maybe not, I think it would completely depend on how badly we needed their planet. Look at our history here, that tells the tale. We are a very pragmatic species.

We may have been left alone as when we were discovered we were in our reading, writing, making metals etc stage of development, not the dinosaur or caveman stage, if so you may be right, perhaps there is a galaxy police that ensures the safety of developing species. The need for species to expand beyond their own star system must be common so there may be some kind of galactic control organization in place that controls who can have what. We won't find out until we have the technology to get out there though. Roddenbury was probably right.

Our planet would also have to have the correct conditions for the discoverers with regard gravity, amount of starlight and atmosphere etc. Our planet might not be suitable for many species, we may have been left alone because they don't want it.

With regard deadly critters, there are no degrees of dead, critters are either deadly or not.

Edited by Occams Razor

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Based on your post Im guessing you are one of those people who believes in a one world super government like the Illuminati or something.

Well you're countries money is controlled by the same group of people as most of the world.... Kinda stupid to think they are not in charge. lol Roosevelt himself admitted presidents are chosen not voted for. lol

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these agencies that hope to track down alien life i don't think they will with technology yet because life exist in many forms and sizes.what i mean is that just because planet earth contains 3D life and form does not mean that other planets are the same.everything is energy and consciousness there are way more advanced life forms and not in physical form like us or earth although they can if they choose to be if they desire and want to people.these E.Ts are million of years way more advanced both spiritually and technologically they well balanced with both unlike humanity here.

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No signs of intelligent life? Did anybody make sure those guys were actually pointing the dish AWAY from Earth this time?

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these agencies that hope to track down alien life i don't think they will with technology yet because life exist in many forms and sizes.what i mean is that just because planet earth contains 3D life and form does not mean that other planets are the same.everything is energy and consciousness there are way more advanced life forms and not in physical form like us or earth although they can if they choose to be if they desire and want to people.these E.Ts are million of years way more advanced both spiritually and technologically they well balanced with both unlike humanity here.

I don't doubt that there are extraterrestrial races millions, or even billions of years more advanced than we are. I even see your point about the possibility of their existing in radically different forms from us, even non-material ones. It seems just as likely that there are also a great many races at all the intermediate points of development between us and the most advanced ones. Many of those could be physical beings in the same sense that we are, live under similar conditions to us, and might be willing to use radio waves to communicate with us, if they deemed the time was right to do so.

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Posted (edited)

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If there's intelligent life out there, then it's so scarce that the possibility of detecting a signal is next to none.

Given Drake's equation, SETI should have gotten a "hit" the very first time they fired up. Sure, they wouldn't all be using "primitive" radio signals to communicate. But let's say only .001 percent of the possible civilizations out there use exactly what we use. There are literally trillions upon trillions upon trillions of stars in the universe. The majority likely have planets.

The entire dial should have been lit up as soon as SETI turned on.

No, it shouldn't. Although there are around 200 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy Drake's equation suggests there should only be around 10,000 intelligent technologically advanced species in our galaxy. Some of them would have to be at a similar level of development to us in order to be using radio waves for broadcasting and radar etc. Many would most likely have moved on from radio or would not yet be at the point where they could generate radio waves. So there may only be a small percentage of the 10,000 that we could actually detect with our present level of receiver technology even if they were close enough to be detected at all. Remember, radio waves do not just travel out through space at the level they were 'launched', the signal strength reduces the further it gets from the source. And the signal strength from broadcasting, signals that would be classed as 'leakage' and not transmissions deliberately aimed out into space would drop off very rapidly indeed.

The equipment used by SETI when they first switched on was orders of magnitude less sensitive than what they have today so they would have been very, very lucky to hear anything at all. They have a much more realistic chance of detecting alien radio signals with a targeted search with today's equipment. That said, alien signals could be wafting past our planet right now, as I'm writing this, but even our current equipment is not sensitive enough to detect it.

So, out of 200 billion possible star systems we are trying to detect a signal from a small percentage of 10,000 technologically advanced species scattered all over the galaxy and they have searched 86 exoplanets and found nothing. Surprise, surprise. Finding a needle in 10 million haystacks would be far easier.

The only way to guarantee you will never find an alien signal is to shrug and give up listening. The way forward is to do exactly what they are doing, using ever improving optical telescopes to find exoplanets and using ever improving radio telescopes to try and detect evidence of technology on those planets.

Edited by Occams Razor

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If I may shamelessly interject myself here.

No, it shouldn't.

Agreed.

Although there are around 200 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy Drake's equation suggests there should only be around 10,000 intelligent technologically advanced species in our galaxy.

Actually, to the best of my knowledge Drake's equation suggests no such thing. Drake's equation is merely a probability spelled out and whatever it suggests is solely based on the numbers stuffed into it. Numbers we can currently only offer guesses towards.

Some of them would have to be at a similar level of development to us in order to be using radio waves for broadcasting and radar etc. Many would most likely have moved on from radio or would not yet be at the point where they could generate radio waves.

Yes and no. Given that electromagnetic radiation is, to the best of our knowledge, one of the most efficient means to do radar and long distance communications over spans where it is not viable to put down different infra-structures (optical fibers, for instance), we should still expect they would radiate in certain wavelength bands. However, that is not to say that we can detect them. Our TV/radio broadcasts are essentially drowned out in noise by the time they leave the Solar system Some high power emitters such as the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) should be detecable out to a couple of hundred light years, but as they are frequency hopping and doing all kinds of other tricks to avoid jamming, I am sure ET would be rather annoyed trying to home in on it.

So there may only be a small percentage of the 10,000 that we could actually detect with our present level of receiver technology even if they were close enough to be detected at all. Remember, radio waves do not just travel out through space at the level they were 'launched', the signal strength reduces the further it gets from the source. And the signal strength from broadcasting, signals that would be classed as 'leakage' and not transmissions deliberately aimed out into space would drop off very rapidly indeed.

All radio emissions would follow the inverse square law, meaning that the power at a given distance would Pz ~ P0/zs. In other words, each time distance is increased by a factor of 10, the power that can be detected is reduced by a factor of 100. Thus it does not take long before any signal is buried in back ground noise.

The equipment used by SETI when they first switched on was orders of magnitude less sensitive than what they have today so they would have been very, very lucky to hear anything at all. They have a much more realistic chance of detecting alien radio signals with a targeted search with today's equipment. That said, alien signals could be wafting past our planet right now, as I'm writing this, but even our current equipment is not sensitive enough to detect it.

Agreed, they have some pretty good equipment, but I am actually not surprised that they have not detected anything yet.

So, out of 200 billion possible star systems we are trying to detect a signal from a small percentage of 10,000 technologically advanced species scattered all over the galaxy and they have searched 86 exoplanets and found nothing. Surprise, surprise. Finding a needle in 10 million haystacks would be far easier.

Yup!

The only way to guarantee you will never find an alien signal is to shrug and give up listening. The way forward is to do exactly what they are doing, using ever improving optical telescopes to find exoplanets and using ever improving radio telescopes to try and detect evidence of technology on those planets.

Again, agreed :)

Cheers,

Badeskov

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oh my... all the acr welders on this planet... and your listening for camp fire songs?

we do not need to hear a talk radio broadcast ... we only need to hear a genarator running , a arc welder... a transmission line with a bad insulator ...

i do not need to hear a language that i will never understand.... i just want to hear something like a voice in the dark of the night sky... that says ... there is anything out there ...

right this moment , there is not any reason to beleive that there is any form of life in space ...

which means... either there is something very special about where we stand.... or there is something special about every where we are not ....

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