What happens when THE signal is found?


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Milton Ivan
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Message 910861 - Posted: 24 Jun 2009, 20:39:31 UTC

I'm new around here, and have a really large lot of questions... Begining by this one: Let's suppose that the signal sended by Extraterrestrial Inteligence arrives the earth, and is sended to processing at someone's computer via Seti@Home. What happens then? The program begins to play Hallelujah? The user is advised? Or it can only be defined as "proof" when it's resended to Seti's Mainframe? And what if while the singal is being processed the computer shuts down for some reason? The precious data is lost? Thanks to anyone who answers me :)

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Message 910872 - Posted: 24 Jun 2009, 21:21:34 UTC - in response to Message 910861.
Last modified: 24 Jun 2009, 21:28:17 UTC

I'm new around here, and have a really large lot of questions... Begining by this one: Let's suppose that the signal sended by Extraterrestrial Inteligence arrives the earth, and is sended to processing at someone's computer via Seti@Home. What happens then? The program begins to play Hallelujah? The user is advised? Or it can only be defined as "proof" when it's resended to Seti's Mainframe? And what if while the singal is being processed the computer shuts down for some reason? The precious data is lost? Thanks to anyone who answers me :)


Simply put, all the work units (WU) are sent to at least two users so that results can be verified as being accurate. Basically, anything you see that sticks out too much is likely to be of human origin.

What the project is doing is looking for is weak signals in the noise of space that could be of extraterrestrial origin. The coordinates is put in the data base as a possible candidate. If an observation is repeated at the same coordinates at a different times then it is scored and flagged as a stronger candidate. When the occasion presents itself to be able to control the telescope, the best scoring candidates will be specifically re-observed. If the signal is still repeatedly seen then the details will be passed on to independent observers at other sites around the world for verification. Only then and if no other reasonable explanation can be found could we say that there is a possible WOW signal.

The nitpicker software that will soon to be coming on line, will be looking at the database in real time, scoring and re-scoring the candidate coordinates and compiling a list of the best possibilities for re-observation.

Our job for the last 10 years of the project has not so much been looking for the WOW signal as sifting out the noise and chatter of the universe and building up a database to work from. It may not be as glamorous as finding an ET beacon as depicted in the movie Contact, but it is the leg work that is necessary if one is ever to be found.

The project does keep track of which users have processed what WUs and should an ET signal be found they will be credited as having located the signal.
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Joseph C. M. Francis
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Message 916736 - Posted: 11 Jul 2009, 3:55:44 UTC - in response to Message 910872.

i see radio having difficulties on earth.
Our earth is like a magnetic firewall absorbing part of the energy.
I think radio search should be done in space where there is no atmosphere or human E. M. I. Perhaps the moon?

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Message 916747 - Posted: 11 Jul 2009, 4:48:31 UTC - in response to Message 916736.

i see radio having difficulties on earth.
Our earth is like a magnetic firewall absorbing part of the energy.
I think radio search should be done in space where there is no atmosphere or human E. M. I. Perhaps the moon?

The back side of the moon where signals from earth would be blocked. The only problem is the expense of building and supplying a radio telescope there.
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Message 916752 - Posted: 11 Jul 2009, 4:58:46 UTC - in response to Message 916736.
Last modified: 11 Jul 2009, 5:01:10 UTC

i see radio having difficulties on earth.
Our earth is like a magnetic firewall absorbing part of the energy.
I think radio search should be done in space where there is no atmosphere or human E. M. I. Perhaps the moon?

The earths magnetic field doesn't interfere that much, the bigger problem is all of our own radio transmissions. For example, there are radar stations relatively near Arecibo that intermittently saturate the receivers.

You're right that the best place to locate a radio telescope would be off the planet. The opposite side of the moon would be the ideal choice as this would shield from much of our noise. I rather doubt that this will be an option before the next century.

EDIT: Looks like JM7 posted while I was still spell checking. :)

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Message 917270 - Posted: 13 Jul 2009, 2:19:29 UTC - in response to Message 916747.

i see radio having difficulties on earth.
Our earth is like a magnetic firewall absorbing part of the energy.
I think radio search should be done in space where there is no atmosphere or human E. M. I. Perhaps the moon?

The back side of the moon where signals from earth would be blocked. The only problem is the expense of building and supplying a radio telescope there.

Not to mention that the "signals from Earth are blocked" advantage is a double-edged sword. We wouldn't get any interference from Earth, but it'd be pretty darn hard to get the data back to Earth.

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Message 918222 - Posted: 15 Jul 2009, 21:07:58 UTC

unfortunately the farside of the moon is routinely bombarded with micrometeors not to mention the -250 degree nights and 250 degree moon days that would quickly stress any telescope. Then there is the problem of relaying the signal back to earth. THe moon has a notoriously bumpy magnetic field which would make satelites impossible and pointless. If you think sending a man to the moon is expensive then just imagine sending all the material to make the radar dish and all the people to build it. It seems a bit cost prohibitive and again pointless at this time
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Message 935075 - Posted: 21 Sep 2009, 19:33:47 UTC - in response to Message 918222.
Last modified: 21 Sep 2009, 19:35:18 UTC

This article sounds promising though:

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/09oct_liquidmirror.htm

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Message 937314 - Posted: 2 Oct 2009, 7:28:51 UTC

You can cope with -250 degrees temp by keeping the telescope in the given temparature at all times. European Space Agency have launched 2 of those "cold" observatories just 3 months ago.
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Message 941350 - Posted: 19 Oct 2009, 15:11:49 UTC - in response to Message 937314.

since the farside of the moon is likely to be in the suns rays at least 14 days out of 28. It seems like a long time to sit in direct sunlight and attempt to cool a telescope
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Message 941446 - Posted: 19 Oct 2009, 22:39:27 UTC - in response to Message 941350.

since the farside of the moon is likely to be in the suns rays at least 14 days out of 28. It seems like a long time to sit in direct sunlight and attempt to cool a telescope

The reason for keeping the temperature of the telescope stable during the day has to do with air turbulence. This is should not be a problem on the moon.
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Message 941456 - Posted: 19 Oct 2009, 23:24:49 UTC - in response to Message 941446.

which would become impossibly expensive seeing as how theirs nothing there to assist in cooling even if an initial station were created it would become essential abandoned just by the cost of shipping cooling material there
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Message 941468 - Posted: 20 Oct 2009, 0:05:23 UTC - in response to Message 941456.

which would become impossibly expensive seeing as how theirs nothing there to assist in cooling even if an initial station were created it would become essential abandoned just by the cost of shipping cooling material there

The point is that you do not NEED to cool it. At worst, a sun shade to keep direct sunlight out to avoid cooking electronics.
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