Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Earth Space Science

No Transmitting Aliens Detected In Kepler SETI Search 197

Posted by timothy
from the romantic-illusions dept.
astroengine writes "By focusing the Green Bank radio telescope on stars hosting (candidate) exoplanets identified by NASA's Kepler space telescope, it is hoped that one of those star systems may also play host to a sufficiently evolved alien race capable of transmitting radio signals into space. But in a study headed by ex-SETI chief Jill Tarter, the conclusion of this first attempt is blunt: 'No signals of extraterrestrial origin were found.' But this is the just first of the 'directed' SETI searches that has put some very important limits on the probability of finding sufficiently advanced alien civilizations in our galaxy."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

No Transmitting Aliens Detected In Kepler SETI Search

Comments Filter:
  • by BenSchuarmer (922752) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:46PM (#42825095)
    I blame Jersey Shore
  • Radio signals can deattenuate with range, other aliens might not be running a SETI program (and therefore glowing in the sky because they transmit stuff to random stars), they might be much further away and so their signals haven't reached us yet. The universe is enormous, no doubt there's *someone* out there.
    • by Synerg1y (2169962)

      Quite the assumption on alien life forms using radio waves, but I guess as a civilization we gotta start somewhere with the search. Or, we can follow the sci-fi model and colonize worlds UNTIL we find alien life. The latter makes more sense in a lot of ways. I'm going to go think of a profit model for colonization now.

      • by Amouth (879122)

        i don't think it is quite an assumption for any intelligent alien life to utilize em radiation, it would only be "quite the assumption" to believe they use it exactly like we do.

        • "... it would only be "quite the assumption" to believe they use it exactly like we do."

          Right. But that assumption isn't really made. SETI At Home, for example, essentially does Fourier analysis on signals, looking for patterns. While they may not use it as we do, having patterns in the signal is a pretty safe assumption. Or to perhaps be more accurate: we don't know of a way to look for signals that do not exhibit patterns.

        • by qwak23 (1862090)

          Everyone knows that aliens' eyes "see" in the radio part of the spectrum and broadcast signals in what we consider the "visible light" portion of the spectrum.

          All those stars we see in the sky are actually alien equivalents of Jersey Shore broadcasts.

      • I'm going to go think of a profit model for colonization now.

        The profit model is simple enough once the profit no longer has to be made on earth. In short, there's a chicken/egg problem. Colonization makes sense if you'll be richer when you move to the colony than you are now on Earth (this is what has ALWAYS driven colonization throughout history). Right now we assume you'd be richer on Earth than you are now post-colonization. That is probably not possible in the near future (resource transfer between planets isn't practical). Getting to where you can become r

      • by AC-x (735297)

        Quite the assumption on alien life forms using radio waves, but I guess as a civilization we gotta start somewhere with the search. Or, we can follow the sci-fi model and colonize worlds UNTIL we find alien life. The latter makes more sense in a lot of ways.

        One of these things we can do right now, the other hasn't even been proved to be humanly possible yet.

    • "The universe is enormous, no doubt there's *someone* out there."

      So, you believe in the "invisible man in the sky" too huh? ;)

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by sadboyzz (1190877)

        "The universe is enormous, no doubt there's *someone* out there."

        So, you believe in the "invisible man in the sky" too huh? ;)

        The belief in extraterrestrial life is at least based on the observation that life exists on Earth, and the number of stars and planets like our Sun and Earth in the universe is .. astronomical.

        The belief in God has no such basis.

        • by tmosley (996283)
          The difference between beings that can exist, and self-contradictory anthropomorphisms is just that.
        • "The universe is enormous, no doubt there's *someone* out there."

          So, you believe in the "invisible man in the sky" too huh? ;)

          The belief in extraterrestrial life is at least based on the observation that life exists on Earth, and the number of stars and planets like our Sun and Earth in the universe is .. astronomical.

          The belief in God has no such basis.

          I think the belief in extraterrestrial life is primarily based in the disbelief in God. If there is no other life, then we are special. If there is no God, we are not special. Hence, if there is no God, there ought to be extraterrestrial life.

          • by Zordak (123132)

            I believe in God and I believe in extraterrestrial life. It's not an either/or proposition. I also believe that any knowledge we can gain by experimentation or investigation brings us closer to God. My belief in God is based on personal experience. Anybody who cares to find out for himself can repeat the experiment and get his own results. It's a non-trivial experiment, and you won't find it reported in Science. But it is reproducible.

            My belief in extra-terrestrial beings is much closer to "blind faith" t

        • The belief in God has no such basis.

          Hrrrm. Possibly. First, define God. Tell me what your definition of God is and we can start from there.

  • What a shame if all this effort means Earth is the only planet to harbor intelligent life. Or worse, the first.
    • Re:Thirst Toast (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:59PM (#42825319)

      Well, suppose hypothetically there is another civilization that reached the point we are at now over 100,000 years ago, and they happen to reside near a star that is a million light years away. In such a scenario, we won't hear a peep from them for another 900,000 years.

      The only other possibility is that they use some form of communication that is faster than light, which would mean they are using something other than EM based communication. EM based communication is all that we have the capability of looking for.

      Due to the sheer size of the known universe, it is inevitable that there is sentient life beyond earth. Even if what we have here is merely a pattern of chemicals, that pattern is bound to have repeated elsewhere, if not identically then very similarly.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by blind biker (1066130)

        We already have non-human sentient life on our planet - many cetaceans are sentient - but we are utterly unable to recognize it. The only sentient life humans will actually recognize, are the ones that carry bigger guns than ours. Sad but true.

        • I qualified my "sentient life" comment with "beyond earth".

          • I know, I just extended our inability to recognize sentient life, to lifeforms we might meet in outer space. The gist of my comment is: unless they shoot at us, we don't consider them sentient.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Due to the sheer size of the known universe, it is inevitable that there is sentient life beyond earth.

        [citation needed]

        Yeah, it's possible that there are other creatures like us in other galaxies, but our galaxy appears to be a wilderness. Since we could colonise it within ten million years, that's a pretty good sign that there aren't any others here.

      • by ngc3242 (1039950)

        Our galaxy is roughly 110,000 light years across. Our largest satellite galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, are less then 200,000 light years away.

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        No need for faster than light tech. They could as we are now moving on to digital transmission modes that use less power and are harder to detect. Maybe they use fiber optics for all fixed communications with a wide network of relatively low power cells for most mobile. Even satellite communications may be relatively low power. Such a system would be rather hard to detect across light years.

    • What a shame if all this effort means Earth is the only planet to harbor intelligent life. Or worse, the first.

      Or worse still, the last.

    • What a shame if all this effort means Earth is the only planet to harbor intelligent life.
      Or worse, the first.

      Nah, it'd be kind of cool to be the ones strutting around in our encounter suits spouting enigmatic one-liners to the lesser civilizations.

      The only drawback is we need to rapidly speed up our medical research so we live long enough to see it.

  • They've all moved on to cable TV.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:49PM (#42825137) Homepage

    All it takes is an episode of "Single Female Lawyer" blacking out and sooner or later we'll get invaded by aliens.

  • by concealment (2447304) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:51PM (#42825175) Homepage Journal

    Other aliens out there may have discovered what we haven't yet figured out:

    Not everyone in the universe is nice.

    Having a whole bunch of radio signals emanating from your planet is like saying "rob me! rape me! kill me!" to any wandering castoffs from alien civilization.

    It might not even be organized military action; only pirates, or serial killers, or even just disaffected artists with a flesh fetish.

    • More likely they've figured out either a more advanced communications technology than radio, or have gone to tightbeaming for long distances. Or they, like us, aren't putting out any signals that get beyond a couple of light years.

      • by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @06:07PM (#42825443)

        What more advanced communications technologies are there without altering the laws of physics? On one hand, those who speculate on , overunity energy which requires undiscovered physics are called lunatics, and yet, people freely speculate that there is undiscovered physics for a non radio communication system.

        • Yes, I'm of the opinion that science, technology and engineering will continue to advance long after I'm gone, probably to heights I would struggle to comprehend just as a visitor from the 18th century would struggle to understand what we've achieved, and as such feel comfortable indulging in speculation. It's deriding such speculation that is indicative of an unscientific mind.

          Who knows, maybe they will send carrier pigeons down wormholes.

        • Gravity waves? Neutrinos? Laser? Quantum entangled electrons?

    • by alen (225700)

      ok

      an advanced civilization with the knowledge to travel the stars will attack earth just to steal our fossil fuel and incandescent light bulbs

      easier to just mine asteroids and other bodies for natural resources

    • Having a whole bunch of radio signals emanating from your planet is like saying "rob me! rape me! kill me!" to any wandering castoffs from alien civilization.

      It's more like saying that while penniless and surrounded by mountains of gold. Anyone capable of interstellar travel has easier access to anything we have to offer than invading a planet and boosting it up from the surface (more likely the bigger factor). There's more usable metal in the trojan asteroids around Jupiter than all that humanity has dug up in its history. More water in the cometary halo and various moons than could conceivably be cost efficient to boost into orbit from the Earth's surface.

    • by WillgasM (1646719)
      you forgot "assimilate"
    • A really good point. There is a strong argument that the first thing you should do on detecting an alien civilization is to attack with stealth R-bombs (or substitute your favorite interstellar weapon). Of the possible outcomes:

      1. they were hostile: you got them first, you win!

      2. They were incredibly more advanced than you: The attack will seem cute to them, sort of like a kitten pouncing you your toes. Maybe they will post pictures of you on their tentacle-book site.

      3. They were friendly: Sad, but some

      • by tmosley (996283)
        If option 2, then they actually destroy your puny little race.

        The non-aggression principle is universal morality, more than likely. Any species that violates it is likely to tear itself to pieces before it builds its first warp drive. Conversely, any species that builds warp drives is much, MUCH more likely to be peaceful. Your only real wild cards are weird communal mind species or those with otherwise utterly and Earth-unprecedented but robust methods of thought/existence.

        For the guys on ships
        • In #2 I meant a LOT more advanced. When I was hiking in the Canadian Rockies a Pika (small fluffy rodent) jumped up on a rock and started squeaking at me. It was acting at its most threatening trying to scare off the invader. It was adorable and we took many pictures.

          Its not clear that a peaceful society will develop the sort of high energy technologies that are probably need for space. They might instead develop a low energy sustainable technology that lets a modest size population live happily on the limi

    • by sadboyzz (1190877)

      Oh I wouldn't worry about that. We've only had radio for less than 150 years. How many stars are there within a 150 ly radius? By the time the very first signal from Earth reaches the center of the galaxy, the human kind may have long destroyed itself.

    • Having a whole bunch of radio signals emanating from your planet is like saying "rob me! rape me! kill me!" to any wandering castoffs from alien civilization.

      Unless we detect such signals. In which case, a bunch of radio signals means "come into this trap."

      Hey, you're right: paranoia is fun!

    • Unless earth is much more exceptional than what we think there is hard to imagine reasons for robbing or killing us.

      If FTL travel is possible and there are advanced civilizations somehwere I find it more likely that they'd just ignore us. Perhaps there are literally billions of planets out there that are inhabited by mostly harmless, boring little monkey-like creatures.

    • Distance between stars, round trip, and power of the signal you have to send to a particular planet, point of time in civilisation development.... So many obstacle as to make communication improbable and a waste of time and resource (remember we are only *hearing* , *sending* is much much more costly especially when you do not know where you have to send to and how far, we have only 2* a few minutes signal we sent which went further away than a few light years 8back in the 70) all other radio/radar/tv they
  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:57PM (#42825287) Journal
    ... to think that anything in line with typical-strength radio broadcasts (and which were not being specifically directed out towards the stars for an attempt to send an interplanetary signal) from a distant planet would have any chance of being decipherable from background noise if the origin of such a signal were even as near as the closest star?
    • unless this search could detect broadcast type terrestial signals that radio stations use, these studies are not a sure way to discount the idea of ET civilisations on planets, in fact, they do not, as the number of civilisations with TV and Radio broadcasts terrestrially, but have decided its not a good idea to broadcast ridiculously powerful signals that could be heard light years away, is probably very large.

      • by mark-t (151149)
        My point was that even *WE* don't typically broadcast signals of sufficient strength to even be distinguishable from background noise only as far away as the nearest star, much less any further, unless we very specifically intend to. So unless an alien civilization somewhere out there were actively trying to send signals to the stars, we aren't ever going to discover them with SETI. Period.
        • Does that include signals being beamed to communications satellites? They're fairly tight.
          • The tighter they are, the less likely you are to be in the path of the transmission. Plus, the Earth is a moving target, so you might only cross the path of the transmission for an instant... while your antenna is pointed in the wrong direction.

            • Radar, we pump tons of that in to space using all kinds of transmission techniques and beam shapes. If anything is likely to make the distance that'd be it.

    • Inverse square law is a bitch. Even us we only sent 2 signals which had a chance to go beyond our solar system. Nothing else we sent would be heard beyond 1 light year.
  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @06:08PM (#42825463)

    And any signal we might detect would have most of its entropy shifted to the main signal block, followed by a little orderly decryption section, which to us, would also look like noise, so running your signal though a zipf analysis probably wouldn't work.

    Frankly, I think the radio thing is a bit silly. The detectable radio interval for any civilization is likely to be quite short. Even we're moving to photonics wherever possible. We'd probably do better looking for light signals, or astronomical star sized objects that look like artifacts, or creating large area Casimir antennas in space capable of detecting wide area, coherent changes to virtual particle activity.

  • by mcmonkey (96054) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @06:10PM (#42825503) Homepage

    That they are cloaking their communications, is not only proof of alien intelligence, but a clear sign of hostile intent.

    We must attack before they do.

  • One thing to take in to consideration is which of the 86 stars they pointed at and their distances from us. As long as they stuck to star systems in the Milky Way galaxy, all this really says is that other planet didn't have the capability to transmit radio frequencies up to 75,000 years ago (considerably longer for systems outside our galaxy). Considering we just got the capability only 107 years ago, if any alien race is roughly on par with our origins, speed of evolution, and technology advancement, we

  • And if they had something better than Radio or Light, then why would they use inefficient slow tech?

    Scientists are discovering physics and material hacks all the time, so the possibility of "instantaneous" communication is growing stronger. University labs are producing some interesting results that seem to skirt along the edges of information theory and quantum theory. It's unlikely, but possible. Check back in a hundred years or so...

    • And even if they're just using radio if the signals are highly compressed (or encrypted) they'll be indistinguishable from noise. Different noise than the background, but still not data.
      So it's not the interval between a civilization discovering radio and discovering some more advanced technology that matters, it's the interval between the discovery of radio and the discovery of sufficiently advanced compression techniques.
    • And if they had something better than Radio or Light, then why would they use inefficient slow tech?

      Precisely so we could detect it. If they do have such better tech, then we are probably so far behind them that we're not even worth conquering, let alone being a possible market, or intelligent equal. They could be broadcasting such message specifically to help us up to a higher level or the more efficient tech, ether out of some sense of an "advanced alien's burden", simply getting us to a point they could exploit us, or so we could signal back and they could come knock out the competition. Science FIctio

  • by Hartree (191324) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @06:58PM (#42826327)

    Hello...?
    Is there anybody in there?
    Just nod if you can hear me.
    Is there anyone at home?

  • Dr. Hugh Ross theorizes that we humans are at the earliest possible time intelligent life can exist in the Universe. So regardless on what you think on how we got here, it may not be possible for other intelligent physical life to have existed before us humans. Since reality is only 14.7 billion years old this is a plausible explanation.

    • Dr. Hugh Ross theorizes that we humans are at the earliest possible time intelligent life can exist in the Universe.

      So, how many mass extinctions has Earth suffered?

      I can think of three off the top of my head. We'll ignore the first one, since it paved the way for the lifeforms that were mostly exterminated in the other two events.

      In any case, there's not really a good reason to believe that intelligence couldn't have evolved much sooner sans the Permian extinction, or somewhat sooner (20-50 million year

    • by tmosley (996283)
      Really? Not even a hundred years earlier?
    • by foobsr (693224)
      reality is only 14.7 billion years old

      Perhaps.

      Quote: "Instead, plasma cosmology assumes that, because we now see an evolving, changing universe, the universe has always existed and always evolved, and will exist and evolve for an infinite time to come." ( http://www.bigbangneverhappened.org/p13.htm [bigbangneverhappened.org] ; )

      That is, we believe (have faith in) the correctness of the most popular current set of theories, though we probably know nothing.

      CC.

  • Fact (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @07:07PM (#42826443)

    Fact:
    The largest single aperture radio telescope in the world is the Arecibo Observatory.
    It's maximum power output at 2380 MHz is 20 TW
    If a matching radio telescope were placed on a planet orbiting our nearest star Alpha Centauri (4.2 light years away) and broadcast at full power, directly at earth... the signal would be too weak by the time it arrived for Arecibo to detect it.

    We can't even detect our own radio signals with the best equipment we have at interstellar distances. I think it likely that we'll be well out of the radio age by the time we can... The fact that the sky isn't flooded with alien Television stations isn't because there are no aliens, it's because there's a better way to transmit that we haven't figured out yet.

    • Re:Fact (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @08:04PM (#42827125)

      Fact: The largest single aperture radio telescope in the world is the Arecibo Observatory.

      True

      It's maximum power output at 2380 MHz is 20 TW

      Not quite true. The 20 TW is what it would take to create istropic radiation of equivalent power to the beam, when Arecibo is operating as a radar.
      The actual power transmitted is much less, and the return signal is hemispherically isotropic, which is what limits the radar range.

      If a matching radio telescope were placed on a planet orbiting our nearest star Alpha Centauri (4.2 light years away) and broadcast at full power, directly at earth... the signal would be too weak by the time it arrived for Arecibo to detect it.

      This is complete bullshit.
      Arecibo could talk to a similar capability radio telescope a thousand light years away.
      ( If you put a 20 terawatt transmitter on it you could probably talk to Andromeda if you didn't melt the reflector first.)

  • I wonder whether an "advanced" civilization would even be interested in expending the resources to send out signals in every direction, as mentioned in the article.

    If not, that would explain the "mystery" of lack of contact so far.
  • Unless they are deliberately aiming a signal at us, we wouldn't be seeing anything. Even regular analog transmissions are impossible to see at this distance. And modern radio signals (cellular, encrypted, compressed) just look like low level random noise anyway.

  • "2012: No sighting".

  • Not english speaker so was unsure if the headline was about "No transmiting aliens" found or No "transmitting aliens" found. If was the 1st alternative then was wondering how they found them if they didnt transmit anything, maybe a Ringworld, a Klemperer rosette or another non natural formation was detected.

    Maybe should be considered how much power is needed to transmit something to a particular point of the sky, strong enough to hit the entire habitable zone of a solar system with enough power to be det

  • Draw a circle the size of a plate, then take your pen and put a dot near the rim but not too close. Say an inch. That is the extent our radio signals have traveled if our galaxy was to be shrunk to the size of a soup pate. Give it time, it takes about 100,000 years for our signal to get to the other side of our milky way alone. By then we would have discovered warp drive and we would have sent giant vacuum cleaners to suck up our radio signals :-) G
  • "the SETI team can now place important limits on the likelihood of finding a sufficiently advanced alien race in the Milky Way. Generating a powerful radio signal requires a lot of energy, so the team point out that they will most likely detect a civilization capable of generating an isotropic signal (i.e. a radio transmission that is emitted in all directions). This would require the civilization to harness the total power output of their host star, making them a Kardashev type II civilization."

    Okaayyyy...

  • The more a signal is compressed, the more it looks like random noise. The only way you know the difference between a signal and random noise is redundancies. But redundancies represent an opportunity to save power and bandwidth, by adding compression.

    The typical alien civilization has had hundreds of thousands of years to work out compression algorithms.

    On top of this, spread spectrum might be used.

    So what makes anyone think that SETI or anyone else would be capable of recognizing an alien signal if the

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak

Working...