The ultimate question..

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MisterD

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Message 1617497 - Posted: 22 Dec 2014, 19:26:17 UTC

After reading the latest email from the gurus at Seti@Home, it provoked me.
Provoked me into thinking and pondering what I can only describe as (queue dramatic music) 'The Ultimate Question'.

We (the collective) have spend countless millions of hours crunching numbers and data packets - for nothing!

We cannot be the only living thing in this Universe.
I say 'this Universe' because we don't know if there's anything beyond it, that space is too big for us to explore just yet.

So, my ultimate question is :

If there is life out there, what if everyone out there is doing exactly the same as us?
Wouldn't that mean that everyone out there is listening - but who is talking?

If there's no one talking, what is there to listen to?
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Message 1617551 - Posted: 22 Dec 2014, 21:11:20 UTC

If there is life out there, what if everyone out there is doing exactly the same as us?
Wouldn't that mean that everyone out there is listening - but who is talking?

If there's no one talking, what is there to listen to?


Brilliant Supposition.

I Conclude, WE ARE ALONE.

Yep.


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Message 1617651 - Posted: 23 Dec 2014, 2:33:55 UTC

It's more complicated than that. First I'll limit my discussion to what we may find in this galaxy since even the closest galaxy is way beyond any foreseeable capability to communicate with.

Not all intelligent civilizations will be at the same level of development as us. Some will still be shooting bows and arrows (or their equivalent) and banging drums or sending smoke signals to communicate. Some may parallel our progress and others will be so far ahead of us that their means of communication is beyond our ability to detect.

It's highly possible that for many years to come we will still have no proof that anyone else exists but if we don't look such a discovery is very unlikely. I'm pretty sure that even though we are not sending out intentional signals for detection anyone happening to glance our way will in a probability see the evidence of our handiwork on this planet.
Bob DeWoody

My motto: Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow as it may not be required. This no longer applies in light of current events.
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Message 1617977 - Posted: 23 Dec 2014, 23:43:37 UTC - in response to Message 1617497.  

Welcome to the great search and a good first post.


To work within the limits of what we can do at present, and so be able to make any search at all, we make the assumptions that whatever ET wants to be found and is very deliberately transmitting a beacon or some repeated signal that we can hear.


Also, a part of our searches is to find anything that is not known to be natural. That could well then be ET, or at the very least be some very interesting new astronomy!


Keep search in,
Martin
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Message 1618633 - Posted: 25 Dec 2014, 4:17:48 UTC

Let the next technologically advanced enough civilization happen to be listening in our direction in 20,000 years. And let them for the sake of argument be just 20,000 light years away from us. Considering that the Milky Way is estimated to be about 100,000 to 120,000 light years across, that's not even half way across town. Andromeda would be your next big city.

So we would set up a beacon to broadcast "we're here" and their "we hear you" would eventually get to us in 40,000 years.

Setting up a beacon will only help ETs to know that we exist(ed). It will not help us answer the question "are we alone" in a timely fashion.


Regards, Jan
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Message 1619193 - Posted: 26 Dec 2014, 21:06:23 UTC

I was thinking about this today. Considering the size of the universe and the number of planets in it, I have a hard time believing that we're alone. It's possible that radio signals from other civilizations just haven't reached us yet. It's also possible that there have been radio signals from other civilizations that have already passed by us long ago before those civilizations moved onto some more advanced form of communication - so perhaps we're already too late to pick up some civilizations' signals.
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Message 1619195 - Posted: 26 Dec 2014, 21:49:07 UTC

Unless a signal of some sort is directed pretty much straight at us and with a very strong transmitter I doubt that we will ever eavesdrop on alien communications. Our radio and television transmissions dissipate in strength so rapidly that by the time they get to the closest star they blend into the background radio noise. A better chance for us to find ET's planetary base is to detect unnatural gases emanating from the atmosphere of planets circling other stars.
Bob DeWoody

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Message 1619976 - Posted: 29 Dec 2014, 3:08:14 UTC - in response to Message 1619195.  

I agree with many comments here. With the recent conclusion extrapolated from the rate of current exoplanet discoveries that nearly every star probably hosts a solar system of some type with planets (and our current methods of discovering exoplanets favor large gas giants in close fast orbits) and considering that there are hundreds of billions of stars in our own galaxy and considering that our most advanced telescopes straining all the way out to the time barrier of 13.8 billion light years away indicate that there are at least hundreds of billions of galaxies in the known universe, when you multiply that out and consider the unimaginable number of planets in the universe to conclude that our own tiny spec of dust is the only planet in the entire universe to host intelligent life is to me supreme arrogance. Even for those with a religious viewpoint, given the vast distances and our current understanding of physics it is extremely unlikely that we would ever be able to visit more than a handful of other solar systems, so if a god exists would it not be an incredible waste to have created so many solar systems and not populate any others with life? As to the question of why we haven't detected anything yet, as others have said:
- I read several years ago that for another civilization at the same level as us to detect our electromagnetic transmissions they would only detect us if one of our most powerful military radars was aimed exactly in their direction and run at full power (and only if they happened to be listening in our direction and at that frequency at the time the signal passed them).
- So much is said of our transmissions that have been leaking out into space for the last 70 years or so, but keep in mind that these transmissions dissipate in strength with distance, the incredible amount of background radiation noise out there being belched out by all the stars and the fantastical distances to even the nearest neighboring stars.
- In the 2 million year or so history of our species, it's only in the last handful of decades that we've had radio transmission technology, and now with more efficient digital technology, fiber optics, etc. our radio transmissions are becoming less and less powerful and would therefore propagate even less.
- We've only been using radio technology for a few decades, who is to say that we don't progress to some other communications technology and if so, how short is the window of radio emissions for an advancing civilization?
- Our latest estimates place the universe at approximately 13.8 billion years old. Of that 13.8 billion years our species has only been around for about 2 million years and only during the last few decades have we become technologically communicative - so chances are that any other civilizations out there are either far behind us or more likely incredibly far ahead of us.
That's not to say that we shouldn't keep trying however as the potential confirmation that we are not alone would just be to monumental and civilization changing a discovery to pass by and I have a lot of hope for the recent idea of trying to catch possible leakage of interplanetary communication in a distant solar system by targeting systems as multiple planets line up with us.

Just the stray thoughts of a fellow space science/SETI/SciFi geek. LOL! ;-)
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Message 1620001 - Posted: 29 Dec 2014, 5:09:11 UTC - in response to Message 1619976.  

I agree with many comments here. With the recent conclusion extrapolated from the rate of current exoplanet discoveries that nearly every star probably hosts a solar system of some type with planets (and our current methods of discovering exoplanets favor large gas giants in close fast orbits) and considering that there are hundreds of billions of stars in our own galaxy and considering that our most advanced telescopes straining all the way out to the time barrier of 13.8 billion light years away indicate that there are at least hundreds of billions of galaxies in the known universe, when you multiply that out and consider the unimaginable number of planets in the universe to conclude that our own tiny spec of dust is the only planet in the entire universe to host intelligent life is to me supreme arrogance. Even for those with a religious viewpoint, given the vast distances and our current understanding of physics it is extremely unlikely that we would ever be able to visit more than a handful of other solar systems, so if a god exists would it not be an incredible waste to have created so many solar systems and not populate any others with life? As to the question of why we haven't detected anything yet, as others have said:
- I read several years ago that for another civilization at the same level as us to detect our electromagnetic transmissions they would only detect us if one of our most powerful military radars was aimed exactly in their direction and run at full power (and only if they happened to be listening in our direction and at that frequency at the time the signal passed them).
- So much is said of our transmissions that have been leaking out into space for the last 70 years or so, but keep in mind that these transmissions dissipate in strength with distance, the incredible amount of background radiation noise out there being belched out by all the stars and the fantastical distances to even the nearest neighboring stars.
- In the 2 million year or so history of our species, it's only in the last handful of decades that we've had radio transmission technology, and now with more efficient digital technology, fiber optics, etc. our radio transmissions are becoming less and less powerful and would therefore propagate even less.
- We've only been using radio technology for a few decades, who is to say that we don't progress to some other communications technology and if so, how short is the window of radio emissions for an advancing civilization?
- Our latest estimates place the universe at approximately 13.8 billion years old. Of that 13.8 billion years our species has only been around for about 2 million years and only during the last few decades have we become technologically communicative - so chances are that any other civilizations out there are either far behind us or more likely incredibly far ahead of us.
That's not to say that we shouldn't keep trying however as the potential confirmation that we are not alone would just be to monumental and civilization changing a discovery to pass by and I have a lot of hope for the recent idea of trying to catch possible leakage of interplanetary communication in a distant solar system by targeting systems as multiple planets line up with us.

Just the stray thoughts of a fellow space science/SETI/SciFi geek. LOL! ;-)

+10 That was the long form of what I was trying to say in a couple of sentences.
Bob DeWoody

My motto: Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow as it may not be required. This no longer applies in light of current events.
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Message 1628016 - Posted: 15 Jan 2015, 16:51:46 UTC

The question I'm asking myself is Does this project sill make sense?
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Message 1628029 - Posted: 15 Jan 2015, 17:16:22 UTC - in response to Message 1628016.  

The question I'm asking myself is Does this project sill make sense?

Well, if we aren't listening then we may miss our only chance of finding out whether ET does exist. I think it is important enough that this project and any other means of listening we can conceive of is worth the effort.
Bob DeWoody

My motto: Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow as it may not be required. This no longer applies in light of current events.
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Message 1628077 - Posted: 15 Jan 2015, 18:55:50 UTC - in response to Message 1628029.  
Last modified: 15 Jan 2015, 18:56:06 UTC

The question I'm asking myself is Does this project sill make sense?


What would make more sense is to examine any "signal" that correlates above the noise for intelligent content.
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Message 1628089 - Posted: 15 Jan 2015, 19:26:58 UTC

Why do you think that they have an RFI server program?

We could go at night?

The mans a genius!
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Message 1628132 - Posted: 15 Jan 2015, 21:09:53 UTC - in response to Message 1628089.  
Last modified: 15 Jan 2015, 21:10:29 UTC

My understanding is that they are simply catalogued to see if they repeat. When they don't repeat --that's what I am concerned about.
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Message boards : SETI@home Science : The ultimate question..


 
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