# We'll find ET in < 20 years

1. Jan 8, 2005

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus

2. Jan 8, 2005

Staff Emeritus
To get from discovery of exterior planets to less then 20 years to discovering aliens is the work of blind faith, or budgeting concerns.

3. Jan 8, 2005

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
The odds for life elsewhere are increasing rapidly but such a dramatic statement was surprising to say the least. I think that it strains credibility, [edit: so much so that I nearly posted this in the S&D forum] which certainly doesn't help the effort.

Last edited: Jan 8, 2005
4. Jan 8, 2005

### DB

Ivan, you probably know this but I forget it, whats' the equation that if we fill in the blanks will tells us how many possible lifeforms there is out there. It's partialy solved, but we can't fill in some of the blanks. Maybe you know what i'm talking about... thnx

5. Jan 8, 2005

### Janus

Staff Emeritus
It is the Drake Equation:
http://www.activemind.com/Mysterious/Topics/SETI/drake_equation.html

6. Jan 8, 2005

### DB

Bingo. Thanks Janus

7. Jan 8, 2005

### errorist

Or they can find us tomorrow??? :uhh:

8. Jan 9, 2005

### Chronos

Maybe they already have, but gave up because we were too dumb to recognize the message.

9. Jan 9, 2005

### errorist

Good point. They may come back to see if we have become smarter. They may come back and say "WOW YOU GUYS ARE STILL STUPID." SEE YOU AGAIN A BILLION YEARS FROM NOW."

10. Jan 9, 2005

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Right now they are asking themselves, "how many of these GRBs do we have to set off before those stupid earthlings notice". "That last big one was cool ork."

11. Jan 10, 2005

### |2eason

The argument that we will be stupid compared to other lifeforms isn't right. Afaik, scientists have determined that our brainsize is the optimum for intelligence, ie any bigger and the neural pathways are too long for more 'cleverness'. The only way ETs would be cleverer is if they had artificially engineered themselves that way. So I suppose it leaves the door open to 'borg' like beings.

12. Jan 10, 2005

### chroot

Staff Emeritus
j2eason,

You're misunderstanding the argument.

The "smartness" of a civilization isn't necessarily related to the individuals' neural capacity. The progress of technology and scientific understanding makes a civilization "smart." Knowing how to build interstellar spaceships and produce limitless energy makes a civilization "smart," even if each individual is not particularly brilliant.

The argument is that there are two possibilities: we'll make contact with a civilization younger than our own, or we'll make contact with a civilization older than our own. Since our own civilization has just recently developed the technology that would make communication with even a nearby alien civlization possible, it is not likely that we'll make contact with a civilization younger than our own. Almost all civilizations younger than our own have not yet developed the requisite technology! The hundred or so years we've had the ability is a blink of an eye on the geologic and cosmological timescales. It is almost assured that any civilization we make contact with today will be far more advanced than our own.

- Warren

13. Jan 10, 2005

### |2eason

I don't think that follows at all. We are looking for ETs in EM frequencies and patterns that we ourselves use, it is all we can do. It stands to reason that any significantly advanced civilisation will have moved past primitive radio frequencies, or at least RF with recoqnisable patterns. The method we use to search, itself, limits the civilations we'll find to that of our own level of technology.

Them finding us is another matter of course. But if they are so much 'smarter' than us, they would find it that much easier to taylor a message to our level of understanding, would they not?

14. Jan 10, 2005

### chroot

Staff Emeritus
It stands to reason? How do you know that there's any better method of interstellar communication? What if there isn't?
That's just speculation. It's possible, but there's no reason it must be that way.

- Warren

15. Jan 10, 2005

### dextercioby

Okay guys,one very simple and pertinent question.

On Thursday evening,as i was coming back from shopping,around 6pm,i noticed 2 lights in the sky-just above the cloud plateau- that had a vey peculiar movement:they kept circling chaotically at quite some speed.I'm not making this up.Practically everybody here in Leuven was looking at the sky and wondering:"What the ****??".It lasted for about 2 hours.It was really interesting watching people in the bus stations with their necks in an uncomfortable position...
So,what are the plausible,scientifical explanations:
1.NATO planes whose pilots were drunk,or just fooling around.Then,why the hell couldn't any noise be heard??If they were planes,a lotta noise would have been heard...And they didn't seem aircraft to me...
2.Weather balloons??Hard to believe...
3.Some messed up satellite whose mirrors pointed towards my town???Perhaps,but the fact that the lights were circling each other was pretty weird...and scary,too...
4.Lights from the earth??Exluded,they were above the clouds.
5.Alien spacecrafts...??I'd say "yes"...

Daniel.

PS.I'm not making this up.I wish i had a camera... :grumpy: I would have posted them on the internet...Maybe next time i won't be such a dumba.

16. Jan 10, 2005

### |2eason

Kids playing with torches?

17. Jan 10, 2005

### dextercioby

I'm well aware it sounds peculiar,even funny;however,there is not room for jokes here...
Above the clouds those kids would have been frozen solid... :tongue2:

Daniel.

18. Jan 10, 2005

### Entropy

So you assume that ET's won't be listening for primitive forms of communications? Its possible that they still listen out for other civilizations that are less advanced than their own.

Anyways, what is SETI basing this off of? Are they just pulling this out of nowhere? Its unlikely that we will hear anything seeing how we have heard nothing so far. Think about it. If intelligence is common, then civilizations would have been emmitting EM waves for thousand to millions of years, for communication or through other processes (yes, you can pick up signals that aren't for communication, but can be distiguised from nature sources). Even if they use a better for of communication than EM they will still probably give off EM radiation through other processes. Especially if advanced civilizations use large amount of energy. Hey, your microwave, car engine and computer give off EM waves that can be detected. Advanced civilizations are bound to have machines that consume large amounts of energy that will give off a large residual amount of EM energy that could travel across thousands of light years and be detected. That means that signals would have encompased thousands or millions of light years. So if we haven't from ET by now, that means we aren't likely to hear from them for a very, very long time (several million years).

19. Jan 10, 2005

### Staff: Mentor

At night, with no depth perception, you can't know the lights were above the clouds unless you saw the clouds pass in front of them.

Sounds like spotlights at the opening of a new movie to me.

Regarding the initial post: looks like a cry for money to me. I'd like to think SETI scientists know how speculative what they are doing is and don't lose sight of just how many variables there are in the Drake Equation.

Last edited: Jan 10, 2005
20. Jan 10, 2005

### Chronos

It is still worth looking for the relative pittance of money being spent on SETI. It's like playing the lottery. Tickets are cheap, odds are poor, but it would change everything if you lucky. It would be nothing short of the most astounding discovery in human history. As Chroot noted, the chance of finding a civilization at a similar technological level as our own in truly remote. Despite the possibility of there being tens of thousands of intelligent civilizations in the history of this galaxy [per the Drake equation], they would randomly distributed over billions of years. The chance of two arising and achieving the same level of technology within a hundred or so years is fantastically improbable. And those far in advance of us may have no interest in talking to us. Perhaps they tried it before and it turned out really bad for those poor primitives whose entire culture collapsed after finding out they were not alone.