Tag Archives: Search for extraterrestrial intelligence

Aliens? Yes Please. UFOs? No Thanks

Via LiveScience

SETI uses the Arecibo's 305-meter telescope — the largest in the world — to scan the sky for signals from alien civilizations all year round. Credit: Arecibo Observatory/NSF

SETI uses the Arecibo’s 305-meter telescope — the largest in the world — to scan the sky for signals from alien civilizations all year round.
Credit: Arecibo Observatory/NSF

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, may be becoming more mainstream, as evidenced by this week’s House Science and Technology Committee hearing, which included testimony by two well-known SETI hunters, Seth Shostack and Dan Werthimer.

But the hearing took an odd turn when U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, a New York Republican, had the floor.

“I think I might ask the question everyone in this room wants to ask,” Collins said. “Have you watched ‘Ancient Aliens’ and what’s your comment about that series?”

The television show, broadcast on The History Channel, explores purported extraterrestrials’ visits to Earth over millions of years.

Shostak, senior scientist at the California-based SETI Institute, started off diplomatically.

“The public is fascinated with the idea that we may be being visited now, or may have been visited in the past, the so-called UFO phenomenon,” he said.

ancientaliens03a_225pxThen he got down to business:

“I personally don’t share the conviction that we are being visited. I don’t think that that would be something that all the governments of the world had managed to obfuscate — to keep secret. I don’t believe that.

“The idea that maybe we were visited during the time of the ancient Egyptians and so forth, keep in mind that in the 4.5-billion year history of the Earth, the time of the ancient Egyptians was yesterday. So again, why were they there then? What was it that brought them to Earth? I have no idea and I don’t find very good evidence,” Shostak said.

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Watch the exchange (2:10 mins):

Watch the full House Science and Technology Committee hearing on YouTube (1 hour).

What is the WOW! Signal?

Via Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know

In 1977, astronomer Jerry Ehman may have stumbled across the most significant discovery in human history – or, at least, found one of the strangest observable things any human being has ever witnessed.


Jerry Ehman's original handwritten "Wow!" Photo credit: The Ohio State University Radio Observatory and the North American AstroPhysical Observatory

Jerry Ehman’s original handwritten “Wow!”
Photo credit: The Ohio State University Radio Observatory and the North American AstroPhysical Observatory

Also See: Was the Wow! Signal Alien?

7 Reasons why aliens haven’t talked to us

by via The Soap Box

alien603_250pxFor decades now we have been trying communicate with other intelligent life else where in the universe, or at the very least find proof that they are other intelligent life forms out there in the universe.

Despite all of our efforts through SETI and other programs like SETI, we still haven’t found any proof that there are other intelligent life forms out there.

So why is it that despite all of our efforts to find and communicate with other intelligent life forms in the universe we still haven’t done so?

Well, there are a few reasons why we haven’t yet:

They don’t exist.TheTruthIsNotThere_04_300px

As difficult (and statistically improbable) as it may seem to be, there is a very real (yet microscopic) possibly that the reason why aliens haven’t talked to us yet is because their is no other life in the universe, or at the very least that there are no other worlds besides this one that has life on them that have evolved into intelligent life forms.

They’re not advanced enough to communicate with us or get here.

alien hitch_hiking 824One of the reasons why aliens may have never communicated with us or have come to our planet is because they are not technologically advanced enough to either travel to the stars, or create a communication system that would allow them to send out signals into interstellar space. This isn’t very surprising since we are barely able to do this ourselves (By the way, we are able to travel to the stars, and we do have a technology that would allow us to do so if we were to give it the funding. It’s called nuclear pulse propulsion).

Despite the fact that the universe is around 13.8 billion years old, there is no reason to believe that there are any other civilizations out there that are just as advanced, if not more advanced than we are, and that we may be the most advanced civilization in the universe. But, considering how old the universe is, there is also no reason to believe that there are no civilizations out there that are far more advanced than we are as well, and can easily get from one star to another.

They are able to communicate with us and even get here, they are just very far away.

alien lonely_130pxMaybe they are able to travel between the stars, and even able to send out radio signals, but they just haven’t gotten here because of one simple reason: distance.

The universe is a very vast place, and the fact is that unless you have a way to travel and/or communicate faster than the speed of light, it can take years, even centuries, for a radio signal or a space ship to get from one star system to another, so it is entirely possible that the reason why we have never found an alien radio signal, or that an alien space ship has never come here, is because it just hasn’t reached us yet.

They are unaware of our existence.

alien relax vacatioon_150pxOne of the reasons why aliens have never communicated with us is the same reason why we haven’t communicated with them: they don’t know we are here.

It is entirely possible that an intelligent alien species has seen and heard our radio signals, and either can not figure out where it came from, or they can’t understand it and dismiss it as natural phenomenon (which we could be doing with radio signals from space right now that we believe are natural radio signals given off by stars, but are really alien radio signals).

Plus, who is to say that they are even looking for other intelligent life out there like we are? For all that we know aliens might not even believe that it is possible for intelligent life to exist on other worlds, and thus aren’t even trying to find other intelligent life forms out there in the universe.

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Was the Wow! Signal Alien?

via Skeptoid

It was August 15, 1977, when astronomer Jerry Ehman was examining data coming from Ohio State University’s radio telescope, which was engaged in listening for signals from deep space, hoping to find something of intelligent origin. In a moment that’s since become one of the most famous events in astronomy, he saw a sequence of six characters on the printout — 6EQUJ5 — which caught his attention. So much so, in fact, that he circled the text, and wrote “Wow!” in the margin.

Jerry Ehman's original handwritten "Wow!" Photo credit: The Ohio State University Radio Observatory and the North American AstroPhysical Observatory

Jerry Ehman’s original handwritten “Wow!”
Photo credit: The Ohio State University Radio Observatory and the North American AstroPhysical Observatory

It was, apparently, a signal from outer space. It came from the direction of Sagittarius. The strength of the signal was represented by the digits 0-9 and the letters A-Z, a scale of 36 levels of intensity, rising with 6EQ and falling with UJ5, a near-perfect bell curve of signal strength spread over 72 seconds. All speculation and hype aside, Wow! remains the strongest candidate ever detected for an alien radio transmission.

SETI stands for the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence, but there is no single SETI group. For a long time, many different organizations have engaged in their own searches, but there’s no central authoritative project. Virtually every radio telescope is used at least part time by some group scanning the skies looking for signals that might come from some interstellar source. The longest single search project was carried out by Ohio State University, from 1972 to 1997.

When you hear about the Wow! signal, one of the most important and obvious questions to ask is where it came from, and what’s there. To understand where the signal came from, and (at least as importantly) how we know where it came from, it’s necessary to understand the workings of the interesting radio telescope that received it.

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