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Hunt Intensifies For Aliens On Kepler's Planets 93

Posted by samzenpus
from the there-you-are dept.
astroengine (1577233) writes "Could ET be chatting with colleagues or robots on sister planets in its solar system? Maybe so, say scientists who last year launched a new type of Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, project to eavesdrop on aliens. Using data collected by NASA's Kepler space telescope, a team of scientists spent 36 hours listening in when planets in targeted solar systems lined up, relative to Earth's perspective, in hopes of detecting alien interplanetary radio signals. "We think the right strategy in SETI is a variety of strategies. It's really hard to predict what other civilizations might be doing," Dan Werthimer, director of SETI research at the University of California Berkeley, told Discovery News. So far the search hasn't turned up any artificial signals yet, but this marks a change in strategy for radio searches for ETI with Kepler data taking a focused lead."
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Hunt Intensifies For Aliens On Kepler's Planets

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  • by Beck_Neard (3612467) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @08:06PM (#47115105)

    the idea is that if there's a solar system out there where a civilization exists which is sending signals between planets (kind of like we're doing on a limited scale with the Mars orbiters and rovers), it's likely that the signals between the planets are highly focused in a single direction, and so the ideal time to listen would be when the planets are lined up with respect to Earth.

    Since we have no idea what kind of signals they are using (radio is the most popular method for our civilization but lasers are also good communications devices) the search would sweep over as much EM spectrum as it could. It's a really clever idea that would definitely pick up interplanetary communications, IF we can recognize the signals as such. As it stands, noise - and the fact that sufficiently advanced communications could be indistinguishable from white noise - limit our ability to do that.

    But anyway, I like the idea because it doesn't presume that they are sending interstellar communications (which requires a high level of advancement), sending incredibly powerful bursts of omnidirectional signals (which requires some unknown reason since it's a pointless thing to do) or specifically aiming their signals at us (which requires a high level of self-importance on our part). If there are civilizations with the same level of advancement as us, we'll find them.

  • by rubycodez (864176) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @09:22PM (#47115703)

    To Serve Mankind

  • by NotSanguine (1917456) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @10:08PM (#47115971)

    Well, we have spent several centuries mining and purifying elements. I can think of some examples in our own world where invasions have happened to exploit technologically backward societies possession of mineral wealth.

    Okay, let's assume that a space-faring civilization needed resources and had so exhausted the resources of their home solar system that they needed to exploit the resources of another solar system, then further assuming that our solar system was convenient to them, and further assuming that they had the capacity to exploit the resources in our solar system.

    Given all of that, why would they come into a gravity well like the Earth's when they could get enormously more water and organic molecules from Kuiper Belt [wikipedia.org] objects and enormously more metals/silicon/rocky elements from the asteroid belt [wikipedia.org] than from here, without ever entering a gravity well of any consequence?

    That would be like mining salt in the Mariana Trench [wikipedia.org].

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