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Thread: Is SETI doing it wrong?

  1. #1
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    Is SETI doing it wrong?

    Is the way SETI is searching for signals from ET wrong? I mean if I were ET and I didn't want just anybody discovering or listening to my messages, I think I'd encrypt them so they sound like normal space noise.
    I know that I know nothing, so I question everything. - Socrates/Descartes

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaCaptain View Post
    Is the way SETI is searching for signals from ET wrong? I mean if I were ET and I didn't want just anybody discovering or listening to my messages, I think I'd encrypt them so they sound like normal space noise.
    Whether or not they're doing it wrong, there may not be a better method. We are, to a great extent, doing something like looking for a glass pin, which may or may not exist, in the ocean on the basis that it's radioactive.

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  3. #3
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    Set is not just looking for radio signals but are also looking for planets and studying the by products of life. The by products are like oxygen which is highly reactive so if there is oxygen in a planets atmosphere there something constantly producing it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by astrotimer View Post
    Set is not just looking for radio signals but are also looking for planets and studying the by products of life. The by products are like oxygen which is highly reactive so if there is oxygen in a planets atmosphere there something constantly producing it.
    If I recall, less than a handful of extrasolar planets have had spectra done.

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  5. #5
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    SETI is not seeking messages. SETI is seeking carriers.

    Scientific American: What Edward Snowden Got Wrong about Eavesdropping on Aliens

    But those holding out hope for contact from extraterrestrials can breathe easy: Humanity's current search for alien intelligence doesn't rely on an intelligible message, say scientists with the SETI Institute, which is dedicated to the search for life in the universe. The real hunt, they say, is for the medium.

    "We're not looking for the message," said Seth Shostak, director of the SETI Institute's Center for SETI Research. "We're looking for the signal that tells us that somebody has a transmitter."
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    [COLOR="#f9f9f9"]Testing... 1... 2... 3...[/COLOR]

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaCaptain View Post
    Is the way SETI is searching for signals from ET wrong? I mean if I were ET and I didn't want just anybody discovering or listening to my messages, I think I'd encrypt them so they sound like normal space noise.
    For any extraterrestrial intelligence that might be out there within range of Earth's emissions, you are ET and you aren't disguising your communications as space noise.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    If I recall, less than a handful of extrasolar planets have had spectra done.
    Simple solution build bigger and better scopes.
    ETA: hire more astronomers.
    Last edited by astrotimer; 2017-Jun-11 at 08:47 PM.
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    I still half expect to see mining equipment on Miranda

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    Quote Originally Posted by astrotimer View Post
    Simple solution build bigger and better scopes.
    ETA: hire more astronomers.
    Both good ideas.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaCaptain View Post
    Is the way SETI is searching for signals from ET wrong? I mean if I were ET and I didn't want just anybody discovering or listening to my messages, I think I'd encrypt them so they sound like normal space noise.
    This doesn't seem to a question with a straightforward, generally accepted answer.

    Moved from Q&A to LiS

    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek View Post
    To elaborate, this section of the forum is for astronomy and space exploration questions with straightforward, generally accepted answers.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaCaptain View Post
    Is the way SETI is searching for signals from ET wrong? I mean if I were ET and I didn't want just anybody discovering or listening to my messages, I think I'd encrypt them so they sound like normal space noise.
    The first thing I'd question is why would they not want anyone to receive their transmissions? Would they even care?

    If they've reached a level of technological ability where they're using some form of EM communication, then it would seem likely that they'd understand the low probability of any other life nearby in the galaxy noticing them, and that even if "someone" did pick them up, the distances would make communication difficult and slow, and direct contact all but impossible.

    That said, our own communications are now moving closer and closer to being barely distinguishable from random noise, and power levels are dropping. It would seem that increasing efficiency leads to something that does sound "like normal space noise"...
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    I thought the whole point was to pick up transmissions that were deliberately aimed our way, because anything less wouldn't travel far enough at an intensity that's much better than zero; at our peak radio-frequency leakage, our whole planet's signal would have faded to effectively nothing within the solar system... and we're less leaky now because we use more efficient transmission methods (physical lines on the ground, targeted beams to & from satellites), so even if random accidental radio leakage could cover the distance, the window of opportunity would only be the aliens' equivalent of the 1980s & 1990s anyway...

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaCaptain View Post
    Is the way SETI is searching for signals from ET wrong? I mean if I were ET and I didn't want just anybody discovering or listening to my messages, I think I'd encrypt them so they sound like normal space noise.
    So if the current spectrum of methods is wrong, what would be "doing it right"?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    So if the current spectrum of methods is wrong, what would be "doing it right"?
    Listening for normal space noise, obviously.
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  15. #15
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    Yes

  16. #16
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    Here is a good discussion with Seth Shostak and Jill Tarter.
    https://www.startalkradio.net/show/s...e-jill-tarter/
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  17. #17
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    Yeah, background is good.

    For the OP and anyone swayed by the OP, I hope the point has been made often enough here that one should critique SETI as it really is, not as imagined. For instance:

    SETI Institute: Frequently Asked Questions
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    [COLOR="#f9f9f9"]Testing... 1... 2... 3...[/COLOR]

  18. #18
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    And a new telescope was been approved by ESA to help find planets that might harbor life.
    http://www.mps.mpg.de/PLATO-spacecra...ampaign=buffer
    ...I'm still free, you can't take the sky from me.
    You cannot run away from the truth, the world is not big enough. DI Jack Frost
    Don't Panic THGTTG
    Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. Einstein
    http://davidsuniverse.wordpress.com/

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