The cosmos is quiet. Eerily quiet. After decades of straining our radio ears for a whisper of civilisations beyond Earth, we have heard nothing. No reassuring message of universal peace. No helpful recipe for building faster-than-light spacecraft or for averting global catastrophes. Not even a stray interstellar advertisement. Perhaps there's nobody out there after all. Or perhaps it's just early days in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), and we're listening to the wrong star systems or at the wrong wavelengths. There is another possibility, says Douglas Vakoch, head of the Interstellar Message Composition programme at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, which ponders the question of how we should communicate with aliens. "Maybe everyone's listening but no one is transmitting. Maybe it takes an audacious young civilisation like ours to do that." So should we start sending messages into the void? And if so, how can we make ourselves understood to beings we know nothing about?
Tag Archives | SETI
The Telegraph reports that scientists are on the brink of discovering the first Earth-like planet outside the solar system:
… Read the rest
Professor Michel Mayor, the scientist who led the team that identified the first extrasolar planet in 1995, believes a planet similar in size and composition to Earth will soon be found.
Prof Mayor, of Geneva University, said that the prospect of finding a planet habitable for humans had come a step closer through rapid technological advances allowing observation of planets outside the solar system.
Addressing a Royal Society conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) programme, he said: “The search for twins of Earth is motivated by the ultimate prospect of finding sites with favourable conditions for the development of life.
“We’ve entered a new phase in this search.”
More than 400 extroplanets have been discovered over the past 15 years, he added.
However, it is doubtful that any of these could be inhabited by humans because they are too large, Prof Mayor told the audience, which included representatives from Nasa, the European Space Agency and the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs.