How to recognize transmissions from alien life?

In summary, SETI is searching for a signal from space. This signal is supposed to say "Hi, here we are." However, because of the interference from other signals, it may be difficult to detect. If we do detect the signal, it might be difficult to interpret it because there are so many broadcasts out there.
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zuz

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SETI is searching for a signal from space. What is this signal supposed to say? Hi, here we are.? We were broadcasting signals into space for 50 years before we actually knew we were doing it. Those first signals are still going, but they are not traveling in a big sphere. They're going in the direction that those first transmitters were pointed. Eventually we started transmitting from all over the world. Those first signals are what we should be looking for. If we detect a signal from a point in space, and it's not there tomorrow, maybe the planet that broadcast it is just pointing in a different direction. Instead of looking for a "We are here" sign, shouldn't we be looking for ET's equivalent of Howdy Doody?
 
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zuz said:
SETI is searching for a signal from space. What is this signal supposed to say? Hi, here we are.? We were broadcasting signals into space for 50 years before we actually knew we were doing it. Those first signals are still going, but they are not traveling in a big sphere. They're going in the direction that those first transmitters were pointed. Eventually we started transmitting from all over the world. Those first signals are what we should be looking for. If we detect a signal from a point in space, and it's not there tomorrow, maybe the planet that broadcast it is just pointing in a different direction. Instead of looking for a "We are here" sign, shouldn't we be looking for ET's equivalent of Howdy Doody?
Think about what you would try to do with an exploratory signal that you would transmit into space to try to make contact. What would you use? A common thought is to use mathematical relationships to show your basic intelligence to start a conversation. Like transmitting the first few primes...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communication_with_extraterrestrial_intelligence
 
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Yes I agree. But when a civilization first starts using radio they don't know what they have. The first signals they send out are going to be jibberish. Hence the nod to Howdy Doody.
 
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Most searches are not looking for radio. They are looking for radar.

At any given TV frequency there are dozens of broadcasters. The interference will surely preclude any successful interpretation.
 
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zuz said:
SETI is searching for a signal from space. What is this signal supposed to say? Hi, here we are.? We were broadcasting signals into space for 50 years before we actually knew we were doing it. {snip}
Pardon the contradiction but scientists, engineers and tech knowledgeable people certainly knew we were broadcasting/leaking electromagnetic signals off planet. Literature including science fiction and popular electronic publications abounds with 'First Contact' stories.

I worked with several scientists and engineering managers from NASA's SETI programs. We often discussed 'signal to noise' SNR difficulties detecting intelligent signals from background noise including natural radio sources. Speculating that alien civilizations can learn about Earth cultures by analysing old television broadcasts can be fun to imagine, but outsiders are more likely to detect heavy pulsed radar transmitters, particularly outside the Earth's magnetosphere.

One publication described searching for 'traffic control transmissions' alongside actual communication attempts; assuming advanced civilizations even use EM transmitters.
 
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1. How can we detect transmissions from alien life?

There are several methods that scientists use to detect transmissions from alien life. One method is to use radio telescopes to search for signals in specific frequencies. Another method is to look for anomalies or patterns in data collected from space. Additionally, some scientists are using advanced technology to scan for signals in the cosmos.

2. What kind of signals should we be looking for?

Scientists believe that alien transmissions may come in the form of radio signals, light pulses, or even gravitational waves. They may also contain certain patterns or sequences that are not found in natural phenomena. However, it is important to keep an open mind and be prepared for any type of signal that may be received.

3. How do we differentiate between signals from alien life and human-made signals?

This can be a challenge, as human-made signals can also appear as anomalies in data. To differentiate between the two, scientists look for patterns or signals that have characteristics that are unlikely to occur naturally. They also analyze the direction and distance of the signal, as well as its consistency and repetition.

4. What are some potential signs of intelligent alien transmissions?

Some potential signs of intelligent alien transmissions include the use of specific frequencies or wavelengths that are not commonly used by natural sources, signals that contain patterns or sequences that are not found in nature, and signals that appear to be directed towards Earth. Scientists also look for signals that are consistent and repetitive, which could indicate a deliberate attempt to communicate.

5. How likely is it that we will receive transmissions from alien life?

This is a difficult question to answer, as we have no way of knowing how many other civilizations exist in our universe or if they are capable of transmitting signals. However, with advances in technology and our ongoing search for extraterrestrial life, the chances of receiving transmissions from alien life are increasing. It is important to continue exploring and monitoring the universe for any potential signals that may come our way.

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