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Is it smart

  1. Jan 31, 2005 #1
    is it so smart to send a machine into unexplored space wit hinfo about earth and mankind and all that stuff. like they did with voyager or pioneer or w/e it was they sent past saturn and into deep space. i mean who knows whats out there. but by the time it reaches any other galaxy eaarth would probably be dead. billions of years old.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2005 #2
    I think the time frame is a little shorter than what you quoted down there. I think it will take on the order of 10,000 years for Pioneer to reach another star system. Still, I suspect that if mankind is still around that long, we'll beat the probe to the stars.

    Even so, I think there were 2 ideas behind the golden records and such on the Pioneer/Voyager probes. First, there was a (very) remote chance there may be intelligent life elsewhere in the solar system that would find it. Second, it's a monument to the human race. If the sun were to go Nova and the Earth was wiped out, those probes would be one of the only pieces of evidence we were here.
     
  4. Feb 1, 2005 #3

    Chronos

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    It was just a cute idea that no one seriously thought would accomplish anything. It was pretty much like putting a time capsule in a new building. We're building the thing anyways, so why not? Besides, it was a swell PR idea.
     
  5. Feb 4, 2005 #4

    Phobos

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    Don't worry about the messages on Voyager, etc. Those are but creeping points lost in space.
    On the other hand, our radio waves are being continuously broadcast in every direction & travel at the speed of light. Our inadvertant signals have already reached a few nearby star systems.
     
  6. Feb 4, 2005 #5

    saltydog

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    Yea, but as I recall Voyager had a map back to us. Did Carl Sagan, whom I admire, think that "survival of the fittest" stops working past the stratosphere? I say broadcast the message, "no one here but us amobeas and we taste really bad". Of course I did argue the point in another post that I felt there aren't many out there but I digress.

    Salty
     
  7. Feb 4, 2005 #6

    Nereid

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    And then there's the perspective of our history ... take any (significant) period in the history (or pre-history) of homo sap., extrapolate it out to as little as 1 million years ... what do you conclude?

    IMHO, any conclusion other than 'where are they?' (thank you Enrico Fermi) reflects a seriously blinkered view of the record of the time of our species' presence under the loving care of dear Gaia.
     
  8. Feb 4, 2005 #7

    saltydog

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    Well, I find that interesting. I conclude we'll consume all the resources of the earth long before that time. May I ask what you conclude?

    Salty
     
  9. Feb 4, 2005 #8

    Janus

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    That 10,000 yr figure is how long it would take to reach Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to our own. The problem is that none of our extra-solar system probes are heading anyway near that system. In fact, their headings don't take them near any local, or even not so local, star system.
     
  10. Feb 4, 2005 #9

    Nereid

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    That any discussion along these lines is anything but scientific; should I move the relevant posts to General Discussion? General Philosophy?

    In more detail: try putting yourself in the shoes of an intelligent, educated person in any homo sap. society, before 1500 AD. Then ask yourself 'to what extent could I understand QFT and GR?'. Now whenever (and wherever) you chose, it cannot be more than a trivial interval in the time of the species Homo sap. on Earth, let alone the 'life' of the solar system.

    With honesty and humility, try to extrapolate that experience ... by several (dozen?) OOM.
     
  11. Feb 7, 2005 #10

    Phobos

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    Probably not much better than tracing back the source of radio waves?

    IIRC, he said something along the lines that if we do find intelligent alien life, we had better be friendly toward it because it will likely be far more advanced than us. (Odds are that other intelligences won't be at the same technological level, so they'll be a lot more or less advanced...and less advanced civilizations would be harder to find.)

    That reminds me that we did broadcast 2 intentional messages already. But those had limited targets (e.g., a particular star cluster).
     
  12. Feb 7, 2005 #11

    Chronos

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    Echoing Phobos sentiments, we are about as technologically primitive as you can be and still receive and recognize an offworld signal as being of intelligent origin. It is nearly certain any civilization that decided to message us would be more advanced than us and probably vastly so. On cosmic time scales 50 or so years is like a microsecond. Even a few centuries difference would be huge [imagine what a civilization with 18th century technology would think of our technology if we landed on their planet]. A thousand years would be unimaginable. And they could easily be a million or more years ahead [although any such beings very possibly would have no desire to communicate with creatures as primitive as us].
     
  13. Feb 7, 2005 #12

    saltydog

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    And that reminds me of what Author C. Clark said: "by the year 3000, we will have visited all the stars visible by the naked eye" (paraphrase). Well, that's generally 4000. I don't think so. I just don't see it happening even for Proxima Centauri. Wish I was more optimistic. Want to be . . . Just realy far away and it's not linear: you know, if Mars is (don't know without looking up), say 100 times as far as the moon, that doesn't make it just 100x more difficult, more like 100,000x. My opinion anyway.

    Salty
     
  14. Feb 8, 2005 #13
    SIT-

    ROLL-OVER-

    Good BOY!
     
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