Mankind to detect alien life 'by 2025'
SETI astronomer sticks his neck out
Senior Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) astronomer Seth Shostak last night boldly claimed that mankind would certainly detect intelligent alien life by 2025, assuming the right technology is in place to probe 500 light years into space where there are doubtless thousands of ET radio stations transmitting into the ether.
Speaking at an event in San Francisco, Shostak declared: "We'll find ET within two dozen years."
The prediction does, of course, come with a few caveats. It assumes that "assumptions about computing power and the strength of forthcoming research instruments are correct", as Cnet explains, and that scientist Frank Drake's estimate of 10,000 civilizations in the Milky Way alone capable of putting together radio transmitters is likewise on the money.
The principal tool in tracking down Radio ET may well be the Allen Telescope Array, Shostak said. It's a Paul Allen-funded network of six-metre radio antennae operated by SETI and UC Berkeley radio astronomy lab which "could become strong enough" by 2025 to deliver the goods.
SETI was, of course, a NASA-funded project until the agency pulled the plug on it in the 1990s due to its "lack of success". It has for some time been running its SETI@home project in which volunteers' computers analyse radio telescope data in the hope they might pick up some sign of aliens chewing the fat over the airwaves. To date, extraterrestrial talk show hosts have proved elusive. ®
@ AC Wednesday 12th November 2008 13:47
Yes we are and heck are we bored!!! I'm just waiting for the fleet to come and take us back home!
Re: Not that simple
- The more advanced/effective the compression is, the more "unpredictable" the next Bit in a stream of bits become. A perfectly compressed signal will sound like white noise.
That depends on how you interpret the signal. It's true that compression / encryption of messages will lead to a bit stream that looks 'random'. The important thing to note is that in order to resolve the bit stream in the first place you have to demodulate a signal from a carrier wave.
Whilst the demodulated bit stream can look random due to compression, the appearance of a signal modulated onto a carrier wave will look unlike anything in nature (as far as I'm aware there is nothing, besides technology created by humans, that emits strongly in just one narrow frequency band - c.f. 2.4G wifi signals).
So any aliens might not be able to crack our 256bit encrypted tumour rays, but they'll sure as hell know that the rays are coming from little green men.
Not the Right Modem
I have long believed that we haven't yet discovered the Universal Internet (UniNet) that everyone's talking on. We could be a thousand years away from it (be it 'sub-space' or whatever). Once we're plugged in with the right modem, we will probably find a billion messages in our Inbox (half of which will be Spam).