The lonely but hopeful search for life off earth


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Message boards : SETI@home Science : The lonely but hopeful search for life off earth

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Profile Misfit
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Message 979219 - Posted: 16 Mar 2010, 0:19:52 UTC

The official Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence or SETI is 50 years old.

Still, says Dan Werthimer, chief scientist of the SETI@home project: “I tell people not to hold their breath.”

Dan, comments like that won't help you come fundraising time. Try being a little more enthusiastic next time.
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Profile Donegal_TDI
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Message 982740 - Posted: 23 Mar 2010, 12:10:37 UTC - in response to Message 979219.
Last modified: 23 Mar 2010, 12:17:11 UTC

The one huge unpredictable variable we have in the hunt is WHEN an ET civilisation may be transmitting a detectable em signal within a reasonable distance from us.
This is why we have crunched so much data to date with no appreciable results.
As technology improves and we extend our detecting range,
the odds will improve.
I will always remain optimistic about the project,
as I know they are out there,
and the galaxy is teeming with sentient life,
as sure as you are reading this.
Unprovable I know, but IMHO ridiculous in the extreme to deny.
Galaxy = cosmic incubator :)

To quote the late Wernher von Braun.......

“Our sun is one of 100 billion stars in our galaxy. Our galaxy is one of billions of galaxies populating the universe. It would be the height of presumption to think that we are the only living things in that enormous immensity.”

Clever people, the Germans, and one day von Braun will be proved correct.
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Profile Johnney Guinness
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Message 982764 - Posted: 23 Mar 2010, 13:52:02 UTC
Last modified: 23 Mar 2010, 13:58:31 UTC

I agree Donegal_TDI,
To me, it almost seems preposterous to think that, in the vast universe, we are the only technical civilisation. To me the only thing in question is how rare technical civilisation's are.

But one step at a time, we are breaking down this problem. The Kepler telescope should, within 3 years, tell us that earth-like water worlds are common in the stars very close to us in our MilkyWay.

Next step then is to prove biological life does exist on these other earth-like water worlds. The James Webb telescope (launch date: 2014) might be capable of detecting this. If not, there will be hugh numbers of scientists looking for funding to build a space telescope that can detect biological life.

Without ever actually detecting intelligent signals, if mankind can prove biological life does exist on these other earth-like water worlds, then you could conclude, based on statistics, that going on shear numbers of water worlds that might be in the whole universe, the probability of the evolution of technical civilisation's is a 100% certainty. We could also conclude that they might be very rare and we might or might not ever be able to detect one, unless its very close to us in the MilkyWay.

John.
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Message boards : SETI@home Science : The lonely but hopeful search for life off earth

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