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SETI focuses efforts on known exoplanets

Posted on Monday, 11 February, 2013 | Comment icon 94 comments | News tip by: Render

Image credit: NRAO/AUI

An effort to listen out for intelligent aliens in the direction of stars with planets has drawn a blank.

As the number of known planets around distant stars increases, astronomers at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence have been keen to use this information in their efforts to locate alien life. Between February and April 2011, the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia was pointed towards 86 stars known to harbor potentially habitable planets in the first directed search of its kind.

Unfortunately, despite picking up some interesting signals, analysis eventually indicated that none of them were evidence of an alien civilization and it was concluded that the search had come up empty.

"More advanced civilisations might have more power to play with and so be easier to see."

  View: Full article |  Source: Technology Review

  Discuss: View comments (94)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #85 Posted by Frank Merton on 13 April, 2013, 11:52
It depends on how advanced a society it is. Our radio if feeble, but if we wanted to talk (talk isn't really the word -- transmit information) to a large distributed culture, it would be powerful enough that we would detect it.
Comment icon #86 Posted by Frank Merton on 13 April, 2013, 12:02
The more I think about it the more persuaded I become that the reason they aren't out there and haven't been here is that at some point everyone discovers inner space (perhaps just virtual realities but perhaps some technology that involves having one's own dimensions). Another possibility is they all become traditional Buddhist monks -- now that would shut down science fast enough.
Comment icon #87 Posted by Lilly on 13 April, 2013, 15:07
Correct, the Drake Equation is a formula that allows one to figure probability based on various factors that could lead to intelligent civilizations. Much of the equation's variables are simply guess work due to our not having specific information. In others words, the Drake Equation just allows us to make an "educated guess".
Comment icon #88 Posted by Frank Merton on 13 April, 2013, 15:17
I must admit that I have always looked at the Drake Equation as a waste of time: an attempt to link an illusion of precion to something where precision is impossible. One can even question whether or not he has adequately captured all the variables.
Comment icon #89 Posted by Atentutankh-pasheri on 13 April, 2013, 15:25
And all the equipment that is used for SETI, it is trained on the cosmos, and not at Earth? I simply wondered is all, about not detecting any intelligent life.....
Comment icon #90 Posted by Tesla II on 13 April, 2013, 15:25
Mah... If it could happen on this planet it could happen anywhere else.. life that is..
Comment icon #91 Posted by seeder on 13 April, 2013, 15:50
As said already, Drakes EQ is a set of assumptions and has its critics.. Criticism Criticism of the Drake equation follows mostly from the observation that several terms in the equation are largely or entirely based on conjecture. Thus the equation cannot be used to draw firm conclusions of any kind. As Michael Crichton, a science fiction author, stated in a 2003 lecture at Caltech:[37] The problem, of course, is that none of the terms can be known, and most cannot even be estimated. The only way to work the equation is to fill in with guesses. [...] As a result, the Drake equation can ... [More]
Comment icon #92 Posted by badeskov on 13 April, 2013, 21:37
I would like to add my sad two cents to this. In my honest opinion, one cannot critique the Drake equation unless one has an issue with the number of factors in it. It is merely a probability equation. What one can critique is the values put into it. Just like one can't really critique a mortgage calculator, whereas one can critique the numbers entered into it. Cheers, Badeskov
Comment icon #93 Posted by DONTEATUS on 13 April, 2013, 23:04
Hey Badeskov`s was that your toy zappin that Drone last week ?
Comment icon #94 Posted by Occams Razor on 14 April, 2013, 12:32
True, Drakes "equation" is an estimate based on probability, based on Drakes personal opinion. But the figure of 10,000 civilizations is what Drake comes up with himself when he 'stuffs in' his figures. Yes, BMEWS is a UHF "frequency hopping" radar system, but the spectrum of the hopping is quite narrow, I believe it's no more than 500khz. This sort of bandwidth on a 425mhz signal is nothing really, this frequency hopping and the patterns in the pulse width and repetition rate would still indicate a synthetic signal generated by a device, which is all... [More]

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