Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"John Wick didn't kill all those people because they broke his toaster." -MickAK

"Everything is easy if somebody else is the one doing it." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Thursday, April 12, 2012

SETI: Are We Too Early?

The March issue of Scientific American contained an astronomy article that suggested that, as heavier elements become more common, the conditions for life in the universe may be more favorable in the distant future. Planets orbiting red dwarf stars may be the optimum location for life to evolve, as red dwarf stars have very long lives, on the order of hundreds of billions of years, in comparison to our sun, which has an estimated lifespan of ten billion years,

So maybe one reason why SETI hasn't found anything is that our species evolved too early to find anything.

8 comments:

Nangleator said...

I've heard the theory that we might be "the ancient ones."

Let's hope they never find out about the Fleshlight.

Also, "...as heavier elements become ore common..."

Heh. I get it!

Comrade Misfit said...

Fixed it, thanks,

So, imagine in seven billion years or so, that a sentient spacefaring species comes across a Pioneer, Voyager or the New Horizons probe. I wonder what they'll make of it.

Nangleator said...

I used to think such probes wouldn't fall to an alien discoverer, but instead to some human jackass collector, after spaceflight had become cheap and common enough.

Now, I sometimes wonder if we're at the pinnacle of human civilization, and it's all downhill from here.

I still think Neil Armstrong's footprints are in serious danger of trampling, though.

Eck! said...

Not early just not doing it long enough.

Radio waves travel at speed of light. We have been generating them for a shade over 100 years. That means anyone hearing us 100 light years
away are just hearing the Titanic sink in morse code! We need to wait till the start seeing I love lucy reruns. The same would be true for them
so it may be a while before their signal get to us. Assuming they are ahead of us..

So if we bail on the project now yes we quit early. We are just getting the radios warmed up so to speak.


Eck!

kestrel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kestrel said...

Maybe intelligent life occured somewhere a billion years ago. Maybe it will independently generate somewhere else a billion years hence. Or maybe not. If you posit that the average span for an intelligent species is say 20,000 years, what is the chance of simultaneous existance. For me it for each human generation to keep the faith and strive to advance colonization beyond earth and then beyond Sol (which both have finite lives).

Comrade Misfit said...

I don't know from radio. But it seems to me that signals from the Titanic's CQD/SOS to "I Love Lucy" were pretty much omnidirectional signals. Even a 2-million watt analog TV signal is going to attenuate a fair amount over a distance of ten light years.

Eck! said...

Well, yes they get really weak from square law spreading.

However they (most not all) are omni on the horizon and very very directional
in elevation. If the antenna happened to be pointing in the direction the earth is moving the elevation slice is quite narrow beam and the beam would be like a searchlight or a laser in that it would sweep by. That would attract more attention than the programming.

What makes that interesting is USA alone has many stations on say channel 7
so when one has its antenna pass the target horizon there is likely another
to fill. I'd be very curious if anyone would miss the odd RF that has this
very unusual and sustained pattern of signal variation and stability.

But we still hear the 12W Voryager probe past heliosphere..

There are two levels to this. One is that there is a very weak peak at
some odd frequency and due to rotation of the earth the periodic nature
of that. We haven't gotten to trying to decode the information encoded.
the other is that RF at frequencies that are not hydrogen line, water
or other natural atomic signatures are of interest even to scientists
here.

Never said that it would be easy to hear.

Eck!