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Shostak: 'we will find ET within 20 years'


Posted on Friday, 14 March, 2014 | Comment icon 180 comments

Is there anyone out there ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Hajor
SETI's Seth Shostak believes that if alien life exists then we will find it within the next two decades.
The senior astronomer believes that advances in computing technology will make it possible to significantly speed up our ability to scan star systems for signs of intelligent extraterrestrial civilizations.
"The thing to keep in mind is that we're still in the very early days when it comes to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence," he said. "Saying there's a silence is a bit like if Columbus, looking to discover a new continent, only sailed 10 miles off the coast of Spain before turning back to say, 'Nothing out there!' I guess that whole exploration gig isn't going to work out."

The SETI Institute was founded back in 1984 with the aim to "explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe." If Shostak's prediction proves correct then the organization may succeed in achieving its goals a lot sooner than expected.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald | Comments (180)


Tags: SETI, Seth Shostak


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #171 Posted by scowl on 31 March, 2014, 15:48
In the direction it was sent, certainly. But as for the "instant of each ping"... I'm talking about radar, not sonar. The radar transmit pulses, the 'pings' as you call them, are so close together it sounds like a constant signal modulated with a high frequency 'buzz' if you listen to it on a receiver. But they don't send these signals for long periods of time in one direction.
Comment icon #172 Posted by Occams Razor on 4 April, 2014, 12:24
BTW, I`m a SETI@home participant more than 10 years now. Good for you... do you have the SETI Spy software that allows you to see the data you're processing?
Comment icon #173 Posted by Occams Razor on 4 April, 2014, 12:25
But they don't send these signals for long periods of time in one direction. Maybe long enough though. Space radars don't 'scan'... they 'paint' their targets.
Comment icon #174 Posted by scowl on 4 April, 2014, 17:02
Maybe long enough though. Space radars don't 'scan'... they 'paint' their targets. Is this the technique they used decades ago to get a general idea of the Martian terrain? The idea was that the radar return from a planet would change as the planet rotated. A clean return would suggest smooth terrain while a disrupted signal would suggest rough terrain. As the planet rotated you would study the returns as longitudinal sections of the planet would enter and leave the radar signal. By examining all the returns you could get an idea of what sections of the planet were rough or smooth. That was th... [More]
Comment icon #175 Posted by Fairy Seeker on 5 April, 2014, 19:40
No, we won't find them...they'll find us, and it could be sooner than we think.
Comment icon #176 Posted by dbrokerr on 7 April, 2014, 0:35
They're already here...idiots.
Comment icon #177 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy on 7 April, 2014, 10:04
They're already here...idiots. Good point ! You make you case in a considered and respectful manner, and the amount of proof you offer is very convincing. Warning: This post may contain more than you recomended daily intake of sarcasm.
Comment icon #178 Posted by Frank Merton on 7 April, 2014, 10:09
You see, it is only idiots who don't know they are already here. The rest of us who remain unpersuaded are just dumb-asses. Then there a luck few who've had their posteriors probed.
Comment icon #179 Posted by Sundew on 7 April, 2014, 14:47
I've always thought the notion of searching for radio noise from a distant world to be a bit naive given the distances. We've had radio communication for only around 100 years now and we're already beginning to digitize our signals globally so they are harder to decipher. Within another 50 years earth will "appear" nearly radio silent against the background radiation. If you think about it, is it really such a great idea to stand and shout "we are here!" when we don't know who's listening? Even assuming radio communications are still used 200 years from now, that still only covers a short time... [More]
Comment icon #180 Posted by Sundew on 7 April, 2014, 14:51
I've often thought this. I think we should remember the book, "How to Serve Man". Mmmmmm!


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