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Space Communications Science

ET Will Phone Home Using Neutrinos, Not Photons 299

Posted by timothy
from the speak-and-spell-is-cross-particle-compatible dept.
KentuckyFC writes "Neutrinos are better than photons for communicating across the galaxy. That's the conclusion of a group of US astronomers who say that the galaxy is filled with photons that make communications channels noisy whereas neutrino comms would be relatively noise free. Photons are also easily scattered and the centre of the galaxy blocks them entirely. That means any civilisation advanced enough to have started to colonise the galaxy would have to rely on neutrino communications. And the astronomers reckon that the next generation of neutrino detectors should be sensitive enough to pick up ET's chatter."
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ET Will Phone Home Using Neutrinos, Not Photons

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  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @07:54AM (#23473980)
    We'll learn precisely what kind of chemical product aliens use to enlarge their penis.
  • on the patent for using neutrinos for communications, OK? All other patent trolls, stay off, this baby is mine!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ttapper04 (955370)
      One may eventually draw a comparison between the huge underground neutrino detectors and the room sized computer.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Brian Gordon (987471)
        I for one don't want to be carrying around a billion light-years of solid lead worth of mass in my back pocket to be able to pick up a signal.. this seems like a problem with physics, not with how advanced the tech is.
        • by wattrlz (1162603)

          I for one don't want to be carrying around a billion light-years of solid lead worth of mass in my back pocket to be able to pick up a signal.. this seems like a problem with physics, not with how advanced the tech is.

          Any civilization advanced enough to colonize the galaxy probably has figured out how to negate - or at least deal with - the mass of these pocket-blackholes they'd have to carry around.

    • by Instine (963303)
      Actually I wrote a story some time ago extrapolating from this idea. I had the protagonist build a NASER (neutrino laser as twere). The first wist was that, well, you cant see neutrinos, so he shone it through the earth to test, but couldn't detect the signal 'so it must have worked..'. But then aliens turn up. Basically they say that the only way to detect neutrinos is to manipulate time. Stretching it out long enough to measure the particles presence. The aliens assume any being able and willing to make a
  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @08:02AM (#23474058) Homepage Journal
    Can I assume they'll need galactic warrants for these cosmic wiretaps?
  • by Metorical (1241524) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @08:03AM (#23474070)
    Does this mean I have to leave my computer on running Neutrino@Home listening for Extra Terrestrials while destroying my home planet?
  • by Lord Byron II (671689) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @08:04AM (#23474080)
    Any civilization that wants to communicate across the galaxy is going to use something (and I don't know what that something would be) other than a particle that can't travel faster than light. The Milky Way is about 100,000ly across, so the ping times from one side to the other would be 200,000 years - try playing Intergalactic Counter Strike over that.

    Neutrinos might be good for short distances (100ly), but then, you're less likely to encounter interference sources. Since photons are easier to emit and detect, they are the more likely choice.

    In summary: photons for short distances, since interference isn't a factor and nothing for long distances since lag time makes meaningful communication impossible.
    • How exactly would neutrinos be good for 100ly distances? Intergalactic Counter-Strike would be equally unplayable with 200 year latency as 200,000 year latency.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lord Byron II (671689)
        With a 200ly lag, you could still hold a meaningful conversation. You might not be able to play CS, but you could transmit the works of Shakespeare and have them get there before your species is long extinct.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by genderbunny (1190319)
      You're missing the point: this technology will finally allow us to tune into the last millennium's alien HBO.
    • by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @08:17AM (#23474226)

      The Milky Way is about 100,000ly across, so the ping times from one side to the other would be 200,000 years - try playing Intergalactic Counter Strike over that.
      You're assuming a being that senses time as we do. An alien creature might live for millions of years and generate the simplest thought in years. two hundred thousand years might be a blink, for them.

      The time from big bang to big crunch might be a "day" for them. Our entire civilization would be like a lightning flash. They'd consider carbon based civilizations as random events that cover entire galaxies in an instant and then fade to void by the next.

      If that's the case, I don't think we'd be much interested in their messages, though.
      • by sysusr (971503) <sysusr@NOspam.linuxmail.org> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @08:23AM (#23474316)

        The time from big bang to big crunch might be a "day" for them. Our entire civilization would be like a lightning flash.
        Are you suggesting some sort of hyper-slow motion state (metabolism, perception etc)? If so, that would be an extreme natural disadvantage. They wouldn't even be able to keep up with the geological events on their home planet, let alone adapt to predators.

        Such a species cannot survive. Even a lack of natural predators wouldn't help: geologically active planets would take care of them.

        "Nature always finds a way."
        • by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @08:30AM (#23474382)

          Such a species cannot survive. Even a lack of natural predators wouldn't help: geologically active planets would take care of them.
          Such a species could be "big" enough as to not be affected by such measly matters.

          Such a species might live and sense the universe in several more dimensions than us. A single galaxy in a single three dimensional volume might be the smallest of it's body "cells".

          Planetary geological activity would bother them about as much as quark behavior bothers us. i.e.: They'd need much advancement to even be able to detect it.
          • There was a story a while back finding emergent life within space dust.

            Evidently, it organized itself akin to DNA, shared genetic information between 2 "creatures" to create a 3rd unique creature, 'ate' other inert space dust, and other tings we wouldnt hesitate to call life here on Terra. Their time-frame was also very slow to what we perceive.

            And that's not science fiction. It's science fact.
        • by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @08:53AM (#23474704) Journal
          Such a species cannot survive

          Not if they're made of meat [baetzler.de].
        • by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @12:00PM (#23478016) Homepage Journal
          It does seem unlikely but an extremely long lived life form would tend to see time differently.
          Think of your own life. When you are 10 the idea of working on one project for a year seems like forever. Heck you can not even stand ten minutes of down time. It seems sooo long to you.
          By the time your 40 a year seems like a short amount of time and five minutes is a blink of an eye.
          If you where a 1000 years old and where going to live for another 50,000 years waiting 200 years for a reply wouldn't seem so bad.
          Even waiting a thousand years for data to come back from a probe is very doable.
          But no I do not think you can have ultra turtles.

      • by jank1887 (815982)
        you're assuming a being that senses time linearly, like we do. Might I suggest a little Kurt Vonnegut [wikipedia.org] for your enjoyment
    • by wattrlz (1162603)

      In summary: photons for short distances, since interference isn't a factor and nothing for long distances since lag time makes meaningful communication impossible.
      ... Ansible, anyone?
    • by bmgoau (801508)
      See Tachyons...

      They are undetected theorised particles that travel faster then the speed of light. However physicists doubt their ability to carry information.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tachyon [wikipedia.org]
    • Aliens don't have to be like us. For all we know, they may not have a concept of time as we know it---one of our spacial dimensions may be their time dimension, etc.
  • Encryption? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by emakinen (875208)
    Do you think that ET will be using encryption?
    • Encoding likely, hopefully binary. We'll have to figure out ET's communicative symbology after the pleasantry of exchanging "assumed to be universally consistent" math facts in whatever encoding. Then, assuming we can receive and decode, we have to try to understand ET's symbology with no common base. Then, we have to interpret ET's intent along with the message. Might take longer than the Fermi-labs mystery letter.
    • by bogado (25959)
      They would not be using encryption, if they want to be heard. If they don't want to be heard then they would be using it and it would hard to tell communication apart from background noise.
      • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
        I was thinking about that the other day.. what if the radio telescopes are picking up alien noise all the time but it's compressed/encrypted? There's no way of telling that from background noise.

        If you think about a lot of the noise that earth sends out it's increasingly encrypted, so the window of unencrypted easily detectable data is maybe 50 years... a blink in galactic time.
        • by Gonarat (177568) *

          We might not be able to decrypt an alien encrypted transmission, but it would still be detectable. For example, look at a radio scanner. If the local police encrypts all of their communications, you will not be able to listen in unless you have a scanner that can decrypt their transmissions, and the proper key. However, as long as your scanner picks up the frequency that the police use, there will be a signal there. It may just sound like noise, but that transmission will be different from the normal ba

    • by utnapistim (931738) <dan@barbus.gmail@com> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @09:16AM (#23475066) Homepage

      Do you think that ET will be using encryption?
      Yes, but it wouldn't help: we have a Mac.
  • by molo (94384) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @08:05AM (#23474096) Journal
    I thought there were billions of neutrinos coming from the Sun every second. Wouldn't that provide a lot of noise to drown out your signal?

    -molo
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jabuzz (182671)
      Indeed there are, every second, about 70 billion (7Ã--e10) solar neutrinos pass through every square centimeter on Earth. Even more to the point, unless we can come up with a wildly more efficient detector than current ones, because of those 70 billion in round numbers to the nearest billion 70 pass straight through and out the other side.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by superflippy (442879)
        Current detectors can't even measure the mass of a neutrino yet. I think we've got a ways to go before detectors can manage complex communications.

        I watched my husband help design and build a detector for his PhD research. There are a lot of scientists hard at work on the problem, but right now advances are incremental.
    • by ettlz (639203)
      Solar neutrinos tend to come from a predictable direction.
    • Unless, of course, ET has a real hot pad.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by loimprevisto (910035)
      TFA mentions this problem, and pretty much rules out the possibility of using low energy neutrinos. A significant part of the paper is about picking just the right neutrino energy to communicate on.
    • The sun emits a hell of a lot of photons, too.
    • by MobyDisk (75490) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @08:52AM (#23474694) Homepage
      There's also billions of photons coming out of the Sun every second. Yet we still use light to communicate.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HeroreV (869368)
        Light can be blocked quite easily. That's what makes it useful for communication. Radio communication would be overcome with noise if every signal transmitted could shoot right through the entire universe with no problem. We rely on being able to use the same wavelength and frequency for communication in different areas. We rely on distant signals being blocked and filtered away.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hoi Polloi (522990)
      Plus you'd need about a light year of lead [wikipedia.org] to make sure you didn't miss most of the message. Even Supernova 1987A didn't produce more than a few detection events [gsu.edu]. Any alien civilization able to produce more neutrinos than a supernova probably has better ways to communicate.
  • His Master's Voice (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This is exactly what Stanislas Lem wrote in "His Master's Voice" in 1968 :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/His_Master's_Voice_(novel)
  • by Hankapobe (1290722) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @08:08AM (#23474116)
    all we would have to do is see who's buying a lot of dry cleaning fluid?
  • Cool, can't wait to have my pan-galactic neutrino-based mobile phone! Complete with 470 tons of tetrachloroethylene and a few thousand photoreceptors. Fits in your pocket!
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      Cool, can't wait to have my pan-galactic neutrino-based mobile phone!

      Screw that, I want another Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster! Those things will fuck you up real good, better than tiny orange kittens [uncyclopedia.org].
  • Neutrinos lack of interaction with normal matter is a problem for potential eavesdroppers, not only because it makes it harder to detect them, but any usable communication beam will have to be collimated (somehow) to a very narrow beam... to the point where even after tens of thousands of light years it still wouldn't have spread very far. This makes it unlikely that we'd be intersecting any beams at all.
  • by JSBiff (87824) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @08:17AM (#23474228) Journal
    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but communication with neutrinos would still NOT be faster than light, right? I'm sorry, but I don't think any galaxy-spanning civilization can possibly exist without FTL communication. Like, thousands of times FTL, because of the massive distances involved. According to one site [ucar.edu] the Milky Way is about 90,000 light years across. Which means it would take, let's see, 90,000 years (hard math, there) for a signal to cross the galaxy. Not exactly useful for galactic communications.

    This is also why I think projects like SETI@Home are ridiculously stupid. Even if other intelligent life did evolve elsewhere in the galaxy or universe, unless they evolved sooner than us (by at least the amount of time it would take for signals to travel from their world(s) ) their signals likely wouldn't have reached us yet. It's also possible that they evolved, developed RF technology, then either died out (and so stopped sending coherent signals), or moved on to FTL comms that we currently have no idea how to receive, or even the basic principles that they are based on (since we currently have no notion of any possible way for information to travel faster than the speed of light).

    Since we've only been receiving RF signals for about 100 years, the window of opportunity for other civilizations' RF signals to reach us during the period in which we were 'listening' is ridiculously small.

    Neutrino comms might be good for communicating inside of our Solar system, but unless they travel FTL, it would take a message a little over 4 years just to reach the next closest star to our Solar system. That seems pretty useless to me.
    • They could reverse the polarity of the neutrino emitter by modulating the frequency harmonics across the sub-space spectrum to acheive FTL comm. At least, that how Geordi La Forge did it.
    • by cowscows (103644)
      If you define a galaxy-wide civilization in a way similar to how earth based civilizations have worked, then what you say makes sense. But I think that's a pretty narrow definition, and not a particularly useful one.

      Even with a lag time of possibly hundreds of years, that doesn't mean that there's no useful communication to be made. Twitter probably wouldn't be all that popular with that sort of latency, but I'd imagine there'd still be plenty to talk about (scientific discoveries (maybe a new planet to col
      • It seems to me that, at a point where groups of people are essentially completely isolated from each other, with the only communications being art, entertainment, and educational literature, they are effectively seperate civilizations. Sure, it might be possible for mankind to spread to other planets and establish completely new, isolated civilizations, but before your transmissions reached them, there is a good chance that they would no longer even understand your language.

        A new tower of babel, once again
        • by cowscows (103644)
          True enough, although one can hope that a civilization advanced enough to colonize the galaxy would be smart enough to plan for language changes. It'd certainly be possible for them to plan out a "set" language that would be used specifically for these official communications, and which would exist outside of the normal evolution of languages, and not be subject to change. I guess it'd be necessary for there always to be a small set of the population who learns this language, but that's not too hard to imag
    • SETI is based on the assumption that an advanced civilization wants to make contact with other species and will attempt to setup some sort of beacon that is easy to detect.
      • by JSBiff (87824)
        Well, yeah, possibly. I suppose we must listen, on the small chance that that does happen. I guess my frustration is people, even people like Stephen Hawking, assuming it's likely SETI should find something.

        Again, even if another intelligent species created such a beacon, unless it just so happened that the 'lifetime' of transmission of that beacon was during a pretty narrow window of opportunity, it's likely that the signal either passed us long ago, and is no longer detectable, or we will have to listen f
    • This is also why I think projects like SETI@Home are ridiculously stupid. Even if other intelligent life did evolve elsewhere in the galaxy or universe, unless they evolved sooner than us (by at least the amount of time it would take for signals to travel from their world(s) ) their signals likely wouldn't have reached us yet. It's also possible that they evolved, developed RF technology, then either died out (and so stopped sending coherent signals), or moved on to FTL comms that we currently have no idea how to receive, or even the basic principles that they are based on (since we currently have no notion of any possible way for information to travel faster than the speed of light).

      Well I'm not so sure we'll ever figure out how to send a message faster than light, but I agree-- we don't know how another civilization on a distant planet would send messages. Light/RF, neutrinos, or something else we haven't thought of yet, we just don't know. However, that don't see why that should stop us from monitoring some of the obvious candidates for inter-stellar communication.

      Since we've only been receiving RF signals for about 100 years, the window of opportunity for other civilizations' RF signals to reach us during the period in which we were 'listening' is ridiculously small.

      Sounds like a window of 100 years, which is small when put in perspective of how long the universe has been around.

    • by bonehead (6382)

      This is also why I think projects like SETI@Home are ridiculously stupid.

      From your post, you seem to be basing that opinion on the possibility of carrying on two-way communication with life on another world.

      From my perspective, things like SETI are extremely worthwhile, even if the likelihood of finding something are tiny, and even if there's no way we could ever communicate with them.

      Simply having solid proof that there is other intelligent life out there would be one of the biggest breakthroughs in the history of our species. Sure, communication would be nice, but it's not a

      • Ok, let me rephrase that bit about SETI; yes, we probably should listen - even if the chances are remote, it may still be possible to receive signals from other civilizations. What is stupid is people thinking that as soon as we start listening, we should quickly find signals. We could listen for millenia upon millenia and not necessarily hear anything.

        Yes, we should probably listen, but we shouldn't make over-much of the lack of finding any signals.

        Maybe, by listening in on alien communications, we could l
    • by octal666 (668007)
      Maybe a combination of neutrinos and patience ...
  • ... but wont be a mini black hole a better instant communication device?

    Ok, ok, wasnt my idea, maybe Asimov got mad in advance when predicted what hollywood will do in the future to the bicentennial man.
  • Big problem, you can't aim, focus, or do anything other with neutrinos than create them.

    That means that 99.9999% of all neutrinos ever created are still zoooming around the universe.

    And there are a billion billion stars all making 10^37 neutrinos every second.

    That's what's called "background noise".

    Now there are several noise-reduction strategies, like narrow filters (which don't work well when the endpoints are moving). But still, it's hard to make a signal make a dent with all that background noise.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pla (258480)
      Big problem, you can't aim, focus, or do anything other with neutrinos than create them.

      ...Yet. Since they do interact with ordinary matter to some degree, we can reasonably expect to some day have the ability to make/use/detect them in a controlled and predictable manner.



      Now there are several noise-reduction strategies, like narrow filters (which don't work well when the endpoints are moving). But still, it's hard to make a signal make a dent with all that background noise.

      Now apply the same rea
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Yes, and if my grandma had subspace thrusters, she'd be a starship.

        Perhaps you don't understand anything about neutrinos. They don't respond to electromagnetism, gravity, or the strong force. That means it's really hard to get a hold of them, like impossible.

        So you can't use diffraction, reflection, refraction, or the other techniques for filtering and capturing objects.

        And numerically there are a whole lot more neutrinos than photons. Like by a factor of 10^10 at least. That's nothing to sneeze at.

        So
    • Actually a particle accelerator could be used to created a beam of neutrino's, as far back as 1978 [dtic.mil] there has been work on modulating neutrino's.
  • by soulsteal (104635) <soulsteal@3l33ERDOS7.org minus math_god> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @08:22AM (#23474292) Homepage
    Everyone knows ET used trees, the wind, some string, a coat hangar, a record player and a speak'n'spell to communicate.

    Duh.
  • Noise free? (Score:3, Informative)

    by RsG (809189) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @08:23AM (#23474312)
    That part of TFS left me scratching my head. Since nothing short of a black hole or neutron star will actually stop neutrinos, and since every active star in the galaxy gives off neutrino radiation as a byproduct of stellar fusion, shouldn't the noise level be relatively high?

    Apart from that, how exactly is this hypothetical neutrino comm generating its signal? Neutrinos are the byproduct of nuclear reactions, and you'd need to generate an awful lot for the signal to be heard over interstellar distances. Are they rapidly switching a fusion source on and off? Perhaps using matter and anti-matter instead? Either way, it'd be somewhat akin to blasting off hydrogen bombs in Morse code.

    Final catch, if we don't know how a hypothetical neutrino comm would work, why would we assume it's feasible? I mean, if we're just going to handwave around the technical hurdles in generating a long range signal using exotic particles, why not go the extra mile and assume they're using gravity waves? Same benefits, equally difficult engineering problems.

    Not that looking for neutrino signals isn't worth it - it costs us next to nothing to try it, and who knows, they might be right. However, there is a world of difference between "we should look for X in case it's used to contact us" and "they will contact us with X" which is the way the article is pitching it.
  • With tachyons [wikipedia.org], the message can arrive before it's sent! All we need to do is to figure out how to keep them from condensing....
  • by LakeSolon (699033) * on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @08:32AM (#23474408) Homepage
    There are alot of posts saying "Well it's still not faster than the speed of light, so it's still useless for a pan-galactic civilization".

    If your two options are: A) communicate at the speed of light, or B) don't communicate...

    I think it's reasonable to assume you'd find some communication, no matter how slow, useful.

    We've gotten so accustomed to (what is to our senses) instantaneous communication it's easy to forget that empires existed across much of our globe when the fastest method of communication was a sailing ship.

    We've seen our 'world' shrink a great deal in the past few hundred years. Is it so hard to imagine it growing again?
    • by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @08:47AM (#23474622)
      Back in the Roman Empire days, they could communicate with Rome using towers built on each others horizon. They then used light codes (similar to morse) to then relay information back to the Caesar.

      They had it down to 18 hrs from Great Britan... I think that's damned impressive.
      • Considering they are using light relays, that actually seems kinda slow? I suppose, though, now that I think about it more, that makes sense. The transmission of info from one tower to the next via light is fast, but they probably needed well over a hundred towers to reach from GB to Rome (and maybe a ship or two in the English Channel?).

        Each 'telegrapher' would probably take several minutes to receive then relay the message (and they probably used some sort of error checking/correction procedure, to verify
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Nyh (55741)

        Back in the Roman Empire days, they could communicate with Rome using towers built on each others horizon. They then used light codes (similar to morse) to then relay information back to the Caesar.

        Semaphore towers were only invented in the 18th century. The Romans used couriers on horse back to send written messages. And according to rhe Wikipedia: In about 35 AD, the Roman emperor Tiberius, by then very unpopular, ruled his vast empire from a villa on the Isle of Capri. It is thought that he sent coded orders daily by heliograph to the mainland, eight miles away.

        Nyh

    • It's true that civilizations can exist when it takes weeks or months, maybe even a small number of years for the message to reach it's destination. On the scale of thousands of years, what could you *possibly* say that would be useful or relevant to anyone living at that time? How would you even know if anyone would still be alive at the signals destination?

      I mean, think about it, if the signal takes 30,000 years to reach it's destination, not only would everyone who was alive when you sent the signal be de
      • by Elladan (17598)

        I mean, think about it, if the signal takes 30,000 years to reach it's destination, not only would everyone who was alive when you sent the signal be dead, but roughly 1000 generations would have lived and died. Governments, societies, religions would likely have all come and gone, risen and fallen.

        Or, these being people with such staggeringly awesome technological prowess that they can travel between the stars, they individually live for vast periods, and over the ages have built more stable institutions. 30,000 years might still seem a long time for cross-galactic communications, but for such people, 50 or 100 years may not matter much at all. And from one side of the galaxy to the other, each step of the way to your neighbors might only be a few years.

        From Earth to Alpha Centauri is, by this mea

    • I like your point. Imagine if you will that some other advanced civilization is exploring the galaxy. If they're clever, which we'll assume, they might do it by sending out robotic explorers that automatically move to new regions of space, replicate themselves, and move on, but can be directed via communication from the homeland. These robots will take millions of years to go anywhere very far from home, so waiting for light speed communications isn't a big delay in the scheme of things. I think that on
  • by AceJohnny (253840) <jlargentaye@gmai ... minus herbivore> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @08:35AM (#23474452) Journal
    Oh yeah sure, let's use neutrinos, who's most remarkable physical property is that they barely interact with matter, no problem!

    Alien tech indeed...
    • It's still can be done, as long as you send plenty of neutrino's (ie. trillions) statistically we should detect a few of those. Now to detect enough neutrino's to see a modulated signal is another thing.
    • This is the fundamental problem, NOT noise sources, as earlier posts suggest. Although the sun produces large numbers, they are all low energy, less than 10 MeV. Supernovae aren't much bigger. As you go up in energy, astrophysical neutrinos both become more rare and easier to detect.

      But 'easier' doesn't mean 'easy'. Even at high energies, you can only detect one in 10^20 or 10^30 neutrinos, even with detectors of order 1 kiloton. Detectors of order 1 megaton are feasable by current technology, but getting i
  • Given the distance to cover and the speed of light, lag times will be high. The smallest duration would be on the order of 10 years, with most 100 to 1000 years. This would require very long lifetimes for any chatter to make sense. What would really be communicated? Only those items of utmost importance. I figure it would be data on other civilizations, their development and threat assessment. Or, habitable worlds for an expanding population. Anything else would be considered hum-drum, or capable of being d
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Not really..

      If we can learn the nanotech and computing required, we should be able to upload ourselves in durable substrate (diamondoid CPUs). Once we have control what was once only biological control, we could change the way we perceive time to say a second per year (or more or less for the required job).

      It could also be said that if we lived between compute platforms in each solar system, our global consciousness could be diffuse and communicate with the idea that light speed is the barrier which we will
    • How about some sort of information co-operative?

      Imagine all these alien races pumping out designs for their technologies, their culture, maths, arts, ideas (and mistakes). A sort of free/open-source for technologies, arts, ideas. No-one gains directly from sending out their "intellectual property", but no-one can be threatened by having a recipient turning it against them (the distances are too large for any sort of practical attack - Andromeda Strain/Ophiuchi Hotline notwithstanding.)

      While none of the ci

      • by scorp1us (235526)
        But the benevolent will always be victim to the malevolent. Any society that broadcasts into space better be damn sure they are capable of defending from attack or incredibly naive. In my book humanity is the latter. I don't value the discovery alien life so much that I'm willing to have my species destroyed for it.

        Also, I wonder about the value of discoveries when a lifetime is 100 years and your transmission time is 100 years, particularly when you start from the same technological base...
        • by Ihlosi (895663)
          I don't value the discovery alien life so much that I'm willing to have my species destroyed for it.

          Don't worry - if the aliens are capable to sent anything destructive our way, they're quite likely also capable to detect our presence without us announcing it.

  • Our first contact with interstellar life will be an adolescent alien playing their version of Counter Strike Source and screaming "STFU you noob, I DON'T HACK"

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