In 1974 a message was beamed towards the stars by the giant Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico, a brief blast of radio waves designed to alert extraterrestrial civilisations to our existence. Of course, we don't know if such civilisations really exist. For the past six decades a small cadre of researchers have been on a quest to find out, as part of SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. So far, SETI has found no evidence of extraterrestrial life, but with more than a hundred billion stars in our Galaxy alone to search, the odds of quick success are stacked against us. The silence from the stars is prompting some researchers, inspired by the Arecibo transmission, to transmit more messages into space, in an effort to provoke a response from any civilisations out there that might otherwise be staying quiet. However, the act of transmitting raises troubling questions about the process of contact. We look for qualities such as altruism and intelligence in extraterrestrial life, but what do these mean to humankind? Can civilisations survive in the Universe long enough for us to detect them, and what can their existence, or lack thereof, reveal to us about our future prospects? Can we learn something about our own history when we explore what happens when two civilisations come into contact? Finally, do the answers tell us that it is safe to transmit, even though we know nothing about extraterrestrial life, or as Stephen Hawking argued, are we placing humanity in jeopardy by doing so? In The Contact Paradox, author Keith Cooper looks at how far SETI has come since its modest beginnings, and where it is going, by speaking to the leading names in the field and beyond. SETI forces us to confront our nature in a way that we seldom have before – where did we come from, where are we going, and who are we in the cosmic context of things? This book considers the assumptions that we make in our search for extraterrestrial life, and explores how those assumptions can teach us about ourselves.
Is there intelligent life out there? If so, where are they and do we really want to meet them? These are the questions examined by Lamb (philosophy and bioethics, U. of Birmingham) He evaluates the competing theories of the practitioners of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) and their skeptic critics, including the Drake equation which optimistically predicts thousands of advance civilizations and Fermi's paradox which assumes that if there were civilizations capable of advance extrasolar communication, we would have heard from them already. Also explored are the methodologies that the SETI crowd are utilizing in their search for alien intelligence, including the construction of radio beacons and the search for Dyson spheres. Annotation copyrighted by Book News Inc., Portland, OR
Is the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence a genuine scientific research programme? David Lamb evaluates claims and counter-claims, and examines recent attempts to establish contact with other intelligent life forms. He considers the benefits and drawbacks of this communication, how we should communicate and whether we actually can. He also assesses competing theories on the origin of life on Earth, discoveries of former solar planets, proposals for space colonies and the consequent technical and ethical issues.
Within the infinite universe there exists the infinite possibility that we are not alone. Since 1959, scientists engaged in the SETI effort (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) have been quietly searching the cosmos for evidence of intelligent life--a discovery, that, if made, will be the most dramatic event in human history. And it's getting harder to detect signals from space--the very technology that makes it possible to detect other civilizations is now clogging the skies with radio pollution from ground-based radio transmitters, spy satellites, and communications satellites. In this intriguing behind-the-scenes view of the search for ET, McDonough reveals recent scientific advances and controversies, battles with the government to get various projects funded, and international projects--particularly those of the Soviets. He also provides an entertaining look at Alien in literature and popular culture, as well some exciting speculation for the future.
This book presents the latest knowledge of the newly discovered Earth-like exoplanets and reviews improvements in both radio and optical SETI. A key aim is to stimulate fresh discussion on algorithms that will be of high value in this extremely complicated search. Exoplanets resembling Earth could well be able to sustain life and support the evolution of technological civilizations, but to date, all searches for such life forms have proved fruitless. The failings of SETI observations are well recognized, and a new search approach is necessary. In this book, different detection algorithms that exploit state-of-the-art, low-cost, and extremely fast multiprocessors are examined and compared. Novel methods such as the agnostic entropy and high-sensitivity blind signal extraction algorithms should represent a quantum leap forward in SETI. The book is of interest to all researchers in the field and hopefully stimulates significant progress in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
This book is a collection of essays written by the very scientists and engineers who have led, and continue to lead, the scientific quest known as SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Divided into three parts, the first section, ‘The Spirit of SETI Past’, written by the surviving pioneers of this then emerging discipline, reviews the major projects undertaken during the first 50 years of SETI science and the results of that research. In the second section, ‘The Spirit of SETI Present’, the present-day science and technology is discussed in detail, providing the technical background to contemporary SETI instruments, experiments, and analytical techniques, including the processing of the received signals to extract potential alien communications. In the third and final section, ‘The Spirit of SETI Future’, the book looks ahead to the possible directions that SETI will take in the next 50 years, addressing such important topics as interstellar message construction, the risks and assumptions of interstellar communications, when we might make contact, what aliens might look like and what is likely to happen in the aftermath of such a contact.
Investigates how scientists, particularly Jill Tarter, Director of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, use twenty-first century technology to investigate whether life exists on other planets.