Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"The new search for alien intelligence"

Hi all,

Occasionally I like to report on SETI initiatives. In "Astronomy" magazine (click here) for September 2013, volume 4 number 9, pages 28-31, I came across an article by David L Chandler, about some interesting new directions for SETI.

Targeting advanced civilisations:

The article opens up "Most search strategies have concentrated on radio or laser signals that humans know how to send..." (p.28.) Then, "But a whole set of new programs takes a different tack. These searches target highly advanced civilisations throughout our galaxy and beyond without assuming that they are putting any time, effort or thought into communicating their presence." (p.28.)

What are these new ideas:

Geoff Marcy (click here) of the University of California, is looking for evidence of a Dyson sphere (click here), "Shell...solar arrays surrounding the host star." (p.30.)

Lucianne Walkowicz, of Princeton University (click here), is looking through data from the Kepler satellite for "Stellar lighthouses...patterns in the data...for both increases and decreases in light levels, which could indicate anything from laser flashes to massive structures or even partial Dyson spheres..." (p.31.)

Marcy is also running a "...separate SETI project...they hope to eavesdrop on extraterrestrials rather than look for intentional transmissions...The idea is to hunt for signals these aliens may be beaming to each other using modulated laser beams..." (p.31.)

The article presents a very good overview of these new techniques, and well worth you locating a copy of the article.

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