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Space Science

New Europe-Wide Radio Telescope To Look For ET 49

Posted by samzenpus
from the phone-011-then-home dept.
astroengine writes "A new radio telescope is under construction, consisting of 44 stations (each consisting of several antennae) spread across Europe. The pan-European Low Frequency Array is half built and already returning unprecedented observations of cosmic radio sources. The best thing is, when it's complete, SETI will be able to use the array to seek out transmitting extraterrestrial civilizations in these untapped low radio frequencies."
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New Europe-Wide Radio Telescope To Look For ET

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  • First Post? (Score:5, Funny)

    by DarkKnightRadick (268025) <the_spoon.geo@yahoo.com> on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:15PM (#31853444) Homepage Journal

    So we're looking for ETs who are also ham radio operators?

    • No. We're looking for ET's I Love Lucy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sarten-X (1102295)
      I've always found it interesting how we assume that aliens will follow time at the same rate we do. As far as aliens are concerned, this could be a really really high frequency, and we humans move really fast. I'm not implying any physics screweyness... just the speed at which we move and process things happening.
      • Re:First Post? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:34PM (#31853576) Homepage

        I've always found it interesting how we assume that aliens will follow time at the same rate we do.

        One might imagine that things like reaction time have to be relatively close to things like gravity, because otherwise species could be wiped out by falling rocks and such.

        In any event, I've always imagined that SETI might just be a waste of time, because civilizations might only use radio waves for a comparatively miniscule amount of time before they hit some technological singularity and find some other means of communication. Maybe I've been reading too much Vernor Vinge, who emphasises the swift and sudden disruption a singularity might bring in books like Marooned in Realtime [amazon.com] , but there's got to be a pretty decent probability that any civilizations technologically advanced enough to talk to us have already surpassed us.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by gandhi_2 (1108023)

          This is a fascinating point.

          The odds that any 2 un-introduced civilizations might be dabbling with RF communications at the same time are probably pretty slim.

          OTOH, we are backwards-compatible. Someone around here knows semiphore protocols, morse code over light, i'll bet someone on /. even knows a thing or two about smoke signals.

          The odds that any civilization who surpasses RF communication completely abandons all knowledge of it is probably pretty slim.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by TapeCutter (624760) *
          Don't get me wrong I think science is the only genuinely usefull philosphy we have. However once a technological species arises on a planet it will rapidly dominate the environment and it's population will explode. In all other species such population growth rapidly consumes the available resourse then promptly drops of the proverbial cliff. It's only in the last century that our technology and population have reached the point where it's plausible that we could wipe ourselves out with nuclear war or enviro
          • by RockDoctor (15477)

            In all other species such population growth rapidly consumes the available resourse then promptly drops of the proverbial cliff. It's only in the last century that our technology and population have reached the point where it's plausible that we could wipe ourselves out with nuclear war or environmental vandalisim.

            While I'm pretty worried about the effects that humans are having on their environment, I doubt that we're going to drive ourselves extinct. I do anticipate that the global human population in 210

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by pr100 (653298)

          I've always found it interesting how we assume that aliens will follow time at the same rate we do.

          One might imagine that things like reaction time have to be relatively close to things like gravity, because otherwise species could be wiped out by falling rocks and such.

          Aha - that explains why there's no plant life on Earth :/

      • The thing is, even if you had aliens who see in different parts of the EM spectrum, there would still be physical reasons for using certain frequencies (RF specifically) for long-range communication. Radio waves just behave differently from, say, IR or visible light or X-rays, all of which behave differently from each other. Granted, we might not recognize a signal from very slow-living (or very fast-living) beings as being a signal, and they might not recognize ours either, but the transmission frequenci

      • Well, SETI tends to primarily look at frequences which are "quiet" in the cosmic radio context, yet still close to certain marker lines, like the hydrogen microwave line or the -OH line, under the assumption that everyone with an understanding of physics who would want to be heard, would use those frequency bands most likely. Given the low intensity of radio communications, it is highly unlikely to find someone who would not have specifically set up a beacon anyway, and a beacon would have to be in these fr
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by VShael (62735)

        Exactly. It's all relative. Like the snail who got mugged by the 3 tortoises.
        When questioned by the police he said "I just don't know. It all happened so fast."

      • by X10 (186866)

        Suppose aliens live faster than we do. They do millennia while we do one second. We won't see them coming, and it'l all be over in the blink of an eye.

        • by RockDoctor (15477)

          We won't see them coming, and it'l all be over in the blink of an eye.

          Dragon's Egg, by Robert Forward.
          ISBN-10: 034543529X
          ISBN-13: 978-0345435293

          Highly recommended by many SF cognoscenti. YMMV, but it's worth a read.

    • by Lije Baley (88936)

      Well, they would likely be the only ones left, using radio, long after the others switched to telepathy, built flying saucers, and ultimely ascended.

    • The aliens looking for us might likely be viewed with the same amount of ridicule that SETI researchers receive from the general scientific community
      on this world.

      Some alien looking for us in primitive radio bands might very be the alien version of a ham radio operator. Of course to their "mainstream" community the idea
      of looking for alien signals in sublight bands might be crazy.

      • by RockDoctor (15477)

        The aliens looking for us might likely be viewed with the same amount of ridicule that SETI researchers receive from the general scientific community
        on this world.

        You mean , "not a lot" (of ridicule).
        Most of the various scientists that I work with regularly consider SETI to be interesting, unusual, probably pretty important, but also unlikely to yield results. However, the implications of results (positive or negative) are very big, so it's worth a modest input of resources, both financial and intellectual.

    • by kitsunewarlock (971818) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:59PM (#31853736) Journal
      Or it could be that these primitive radio bands are part of the visible spectrum and we have been blinding their society for ages, causing any flying saucers that come close to the earth to crash on Jupiter...
    • If they want to find ET, they should be tapping the phones.

    • by V!NCENT (1105021)

      ET phone home?

    • What? didn't you hear? They're playing video games [slashdot.org] !
  • by gzipped_tar (1151931) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:27PM (#31853528) Journal

    Read the scientific goals of LOFAR here: http://www.lofar.org/astronomy/key-science/lofar-key-science-projects [lofar.org]

    And here: http://www.lofar.org/geophysics/scientific-rationale/scientific-rationale [lofar.org]

    And even here: http://www.lofar.org/agriculture/fighting-phytophtora-using-micro-climate/fighting-phytophtora-using-micro-climate [lofar.org]

    But "extraterrestrial intelligence" is surely teh attentionz grabb0r!!!1

  • It's not about ET (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bromoseltzer (23292) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:51PM (#31853702) Homepage Journal
    It's about science - mapping radio galaxies at high resolution at VHF frequencies. Really hard to do that amidst all the RF on those freqs. SETI is nice, but it's nice to get real results, too. Not to mention pretty pictures.
  • He's hiding here [google.com]!

  • by SlashDev (627697) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @11:16PM (#31853826) Homepage
    ... if ET is currently in recession and needs bailout money....
  • We've found aliens, and they've got a warpdrive: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18775-mysterious-radio-waves-emitted-from-nearby-galaxy.html [newscientist.com]. Ok, most likely this is a previously unknown radio source that only looks like it is moving faster than the speed of light due to the angle of approach, but it is still fun to think about.
  • Didn't you know the ET's moved to subspace aeons ago?
  • They should just google "ET's place". It's that simple.

  • use to communicate, it's ultra low frequency radio waves.

    Wait. What?

  • but LOFAR is most definitely not designed to look for ET. LOFAR is a serious project that aims, amongst other things, to act as a testbed for the Square Kilometre Array which shares many of the same principles but will be far, far bigger. In the process, LOFAR will hopefully probe the large-scale structure in more depth than most other surveys have managed and tighten the bounds on the baryon acoustic oscillations on large scales, which are currently one of -- or possibly the best -- probe of dark energy. I

  • Before anyone wastes too much time reading the posts, I'll see if I can sum everything up:
    ===
    WTF are we spending all this money on space when there are hungry people on Earth!
    A lot of products and knowledge come out of these projects. Besides, we spend more on a war than this stuff!
    Can't you see that this is in Europe? Quit thinking the USA is the only country out there!
    Aliens are too smart to come visit us. Earth people are dumb!
    This will never work! Don't you get that any alien civilization would ha

Physician: One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well. -- Ambrose Bierce

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