SETI: The Search Goes On

Article Updated: 4 Jan , 2016

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In this new video, SETI founder Frank Drake and astronomer Jill Tarter about why the search of the cosmos is important and needed. Visit SETI online to learn more about the search for signals of extraterrestrial life using radio telescopes on Earth and how you can help.

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Aqua4U
Member
November 13, 2012 11:39 PM

I so totally agree! Yet I remain very concerned about the reaction from religious fundamentalists or zealots around the globe. An advanced extraterrestrial civilization would no doubt realize this too, having probably been there before? Perhaps this ‘complication’ makes ‘them’ very circumspect, even hesitant to come forward? That would go a long way into explaining why we haven’t heard from them yet…

I say – “Come on down! We’ve been practicing (ET, Star Trek, My Favorite Martian and etc.) for your arrival!”

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
November 14, 2012 3:03 PM

They won’t come here, you know.

Inhabiting existing biosheres is both hard work and risky. You have to fend off the invading species that won’t play nice with your own introduced biosphere. Even more so if you try it on a world with intelligent, and especially warfare technology competent, species.

And without an economical reason (no colonization, better science if you barter it), there is no reason.

Aqua4U
Member
November 14, 2012 6:15 PM

Our bio-technologies, not unlike all of our other sciences, can hardly be considered advanced. I will assume that any interstellar civilization’s sciences would be far and away much more advanced than our best minds can even imagine? And yet… a scenario. ‘They’ are here already! It’s us….

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
November 14, 2012 2:33 AM
I am of two minds about SETI. On one hand I think this is a form of snark hunting. I think the density of intelligent life is very low. While there may be tens or hundreds of thousands of planets with life I hold to my estimate there are only around 1000 complex bio-planets comparable to Earth. The probabilities any star in the galaxy has ETI coincident with us, or should I say on our past light cone, is about 10^{-3} This leads to my second opinion. Null results within this galaxy will put some upper bounds on the occurrence of intelligent life in the universe. The experiment is the worth doing from that perspective. I think the… Read more »
Rick Holcomb
Guest
November 14, 2012 3:44 PM

Cogent thinking. Personally I think that life must be very common. Intelligent life is a whole ‘nother can of worms. It may be very difficult to get started and it may be, shortly thereafter, self extinguishing.

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
November 14, 2012 2:38 PM
Of course we should do SETI as much as we do other forms of observations or constraints. However I can’t agree with Drake that SETI in and of itself will pay off. It is in general very iffy to predict what research will pay off, at least on initial constraints. (As a counter example, it isn’t very hard to predict that genomics will pay off in the current run to provide everyone with their genome data.) But we know that science as a whole has a high ROI, especially when it is unconstrained. So we should do this. Now I have to diverge from lcrowell’s models. I find the area complex: A. What SETI won’t provide is very… Read more »
bdlaacmm
Guest
bdlaacmm
November 14, 2012 3:55 PM

I say let the search go forward (although I personally wouldn’t contribute a dime to it) if people want to fund it. My own suspicion is that the answer to the Drake Equation is one (i.e., us), at least for this galaxy.

But it’s far more important, scientifically, technologically, and culturally, to continue the search for life here in our own solar system. Let’s get a manned mission to Mars, probes to the interiors of Europa and Enceladus, an orbiter around Triton, and maybe drop an aircraft or balloon into the Titanian atmosphere.

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