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WaxRubiks
2012-May-28, 08:29 AM
Would it be possible to create small objects(maybe the size of dust, or sand, particles) using nano technology, that contained a large amount of data, that could be fired off in huge numbers at a large fraction of the speed of light?

The idea would be that you could accurately send a lot of data, over a large distance.

I was thinking maybe radiation might corrupt the data, or maybe something else would, but it seems like a good idea.


I'm not sure how one would catch them though.

Veiligo
2012-May-29, 02:59 AM
Reminds me of a novel by Charles Stross, where humans uploaded themselves into a virtual reality and set off on an interstellar journey in a space ship the size of a coke can. It would make a lot more sense to send objects of very small mass across interstellar distances that could build a human civilisation at the end of it.

I have no idea whether it will ever be techonologically feasible, sorry :P

glappkaeft
2012-May-29, 09:10 PM
It's a concept called a Starwisp (wiki) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starwisp) first described by Rober Forward in 1985. As for feasability I agree with the previous poster, it's just to early to tell.

whimsyfree
2012-May-29, 11:26 PM
Would it be possible to create small objects(maybe the size of dust, or sand, particles) using nano technology, that contained a large amount of data, that could be fired off in huge numbers at a large fraction of the speed of light?

The idea would be that you could accurately send a lot of data, over a large distance.

I was thinking maybe radiation might corrupt the data, or maybe something else would, but it seems like a good idea.


I'm not sure how one would catch them though.

I think you have half of a good idea. The problem is that your objects are just passive and wait for (possibly nonexistent) aliens to intercept and decode them. Why not use that nanotech to make them active? When they run into suitable matter they could activate and do something.

Paul Wally
2012-May-29, 11:33 PM
Here's an interesting article on quantum information storage (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110502122138.htm). Perhaps quantum entanglement could also be of use in the design of these "information particles".

mutleyeng
2012-May-30, 12:16 AM
Im not sure SETIs budget would run to it.
actually i dont really follow where in the seti search you suggest this would be used. Do you mean after contact is made, to send information, or as part of the search. I dont really see why a passing alien would find a grain so curious that they had to take a closer look.
I do think the strategy needs to change- im just not sure how.
It just seems so unlikley that an alien would deliberately be aiming a super high power signal right at us in the expectation we may be listening.

WaxRubiks
2012-May-30, 05:08 AM
I think you have half of a good idea. The problem is that your objects are just passive and wait for (possibly nonexistent) aliens to intercept and decode them. Why not use that nanotech to make them active? When they run into suitable matter they could activate and do something.


yea, I thought of that, but it hasn't obviously happened here, unless that is what started life on this planet.

A particle could land and then start to grow something, eventually leading to a robot world, and industry, on a planet, which could then send on more nano particles....I'm not sure that a particle could land if it was going at quarter of the speed of light....I think it would burn up in an atmosphere, which is why I was thinking it would have to be caught by someone.


Maybe the objects don't have to be small, just light; so maybe they could be nano-skinned bubbles, that were pushed by radiation to a high speed, but maybe these would slow down too quickly due to "drag" over their long journey, but maybe an atmosphere could slow them down without burning them up?

WaxRubiks
2012-May-30, 05:20 AM
It just seems so unlikley that an alien would deliberately be aiming a super high power signal right at us in the expectation we may be listening.

If an aliens species had robot technology, they could build huge radio beacons in space and be broadcasting in many directions.

Personally I think aliens may know we are here but don't want to interact with us....so I think SETI may be doomed. But we should still keep trying.

Jeff Root
2012-May-30, 06:14 AM
I think it is very unlikely that anyone else knows we are
here, yet, because it woud require that they be very close
to us. On the other hand, they could have discovered our
planet's interesting atmosphere long ago, and be watching
and waiting for signs of intelligence. Once they see that
there is more-or-less intelligent life here, they might send
a hello message within a few hundred years, and it would
reach us a few hundred years after that.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

WaxRubiks
2012-May-30, 06:59 AM
well, they could have come thousands of years ago, left tiny robots that fly around and document everything which then send signals to the Kuiper belt where they are beamed back to the aliens.

whimsyfree
2012-May-30, 01:16 PM
yea, I thought of that, but it hasn't obviously happened here, unless that is what started life on this planet.

A particle could land and then start to grow something, eventually leading to a robot world, and industry, on a planet, which could then send on more nano particles....I'm not sure that a particle could land if it was going at quarter of the speed of light....I think it would burn up in an atmosphere, which is why I was thinking it would have to be caught by someone.


There's no need to be in a hurry is there? if you send them nice and slow then they don't hit as hard. Instead of 25% c send them at 0.025% c and they can plausibly rendezvous with exoplanets using stellar sailing, gravitational slingshotting and aerobraking. It will take tens of thousands of years to get there but the planets will wait.

One thing you didn't mention is the purpose. Just to advertise our existence? I don't think that is particularly worthwhile or even wise.

mutleyeng
2012-May-30, 01:23 PM
One thing you didn't mention is the purpose. Just to advertise our existence? I don't think that is particularly worthwhile or even wise.

now that is an interesting debate to be had.
I think im right in saying SETI have no plans to do active search. There is a protocol committee that has come up with a manifesto that agrees not to unilaterally respond to any messages without sufficent global consultation, but im not sure it covers active searches or not...its just SETI have no plans, but i dont think they are obligated not to.