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US Air Force Pays SETI To Check Kepler-22b For Alien Life

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the best-defense-is-a-strong-offense dept.

Space 301

New submitter iComp writes with this quote from El Reg: "The Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has announced that it is back in business checking out the new [potentially] habitable exoplanets recently discovered by NASA's Kepler space telescope to see if they might be home to alien civilizations. The cash needed to restart SETI's efforts has come in part from the U.S. Air Force Space Command, who are interested in using the organization's detection instruments for 'space situational awareness'."

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301 comments

Space Intruder Detector (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288650)

Maintaining scan for UFO's.

"Intruder...alert...U...F...O..."

Oblig. (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288716)

Theme [youtube.com]

Re:Oblig. (1)

a_hanso (1891616) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288868)

Moonbase chicks with purple hair and chrome miniskirts!

Re:Oblig. (5, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289638)

We may finally achieve the dreams of our ancient ancestors, who gazed up at the stars and thought, "I wonder if there are any bangable chicks up there?"

Re:Space Intruder Detector (4, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289628)

Plus the aliens could be funding an Al Qaeda base there or have Space Oi- Ahem, I mean Weapons of Mass Interstellar Destruction. Can't let those space-terrorists go undetected!

Does this mean... (5, Funny)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288656)

Does this mean I'll finally have a use for my Y2k bunker? If so, I should get busy building it.

Re:Does this mean... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288822)

It's ok, you still have the best part of 89 years to build it.

Re:Does this mean... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289016)

Your clock says December 7, 1911 too? Mine didn't handle the century flip either. The great thing about the Y2K bug is that once you have it, it'll keep coming back every hundred years.

USAF looking for new targets... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288658)

Before they're finished blowing up people and things in Afghanistan etc?

Jolly Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288666)

A marriage made in Heaven, and with National Security Tie-Ins and BIG Defense Corporate Sponsors and a VERY willing Congress.

Cheers All.

nice...sub orbital hypersonic missile tracker. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288668)

the USAF wants to track sub orbital cruise missiles like DARPA is developing using the SETI ATA to look at close earth objects with high accuracy during the day when their optical tracking systems are offline. SETI wants to find alien civilizations at night. should work nicely.

Re:nice...sub orbital hypersonic missile tracker. (5, Funny)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289618)

"the USAF wants to track sub orbital cruise missiles..."

I'd say that the discovery of sub-orbital missiles on Kepler-22b would be a pretty damn good indication of alien life. Intelligent? Not so much.

Military the first one, huh? (3, Interesting)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288684)

If there is intelligent enough life on Kepler-22b to see that our U.S. military, who can't seem to figure peace out on our OWN planet, is the first to probe theirs...they could see it as a potentially hostile first impression. Just sayin'.

Re:Military the first one, huh? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288718)

It's the military having foresight, produence, and due diligence. Their main job is to defend us, and one of the major part of that is accessing new threats wherever they are.

If we were to find life on this planet, would you rather us to in completely blind about them?

Re:Military the first one, huh? (4, Insightful)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288756)

This. Even though I don't want go to war with aliens (and it currently seems illogical to do so) I have no problem with funding dual-purpose research just in case.

Re:Military the first one, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288870)

Me either. I mean, assuming they even exist, they are light years away at best and so pose no threat to us, but why not be ready for war with them?

Of course, if they do have FTL, then their science will be incredibly advanced, so we'd most likely be fucked if they decided to come here and pick a fight...

But you know, it wouldn't hurt to be ready.

Re:Military the first one, huh? (3, Insightful)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289130)

What's more likely is that the Americans will poke at them until they get annoyed, then start a fight. Then we'll have to send British and Swedish forces in to sort out the resulting mess when the Yanks can't handle it.

Re:Military the first one, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289530)

Still a long way to go before we call it even for ending the two world wars.

Re:Military the first one, huh? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289572)

Damn that's a hilarious post. The British provide the comic relief while the Swedes glumly watch.
Meanwhile, the Americans realize that once again, they've been screwed by the global elite and the useless UN.

Re:Military the first one, huh? (1)

jouassou (1854178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289320)

If the aliens are so much more advanced than us that they are capable of FTL, then we can't possibly be of any value to them. Any resources or minerals found on Earth can be found on planets or asteroids not contaminated with life forms. Any service we can do as slaves, can likely be performed better by their own machines. We're probably way too different to conduct their medical research on. Using us as a food source would simply be silly. I cannot see any possible motive for harming or destroying us on purpose.

However, if the aliens are at approximately our technological level, we might be perceived as either a threat or possible slaves. Such "primitive" aliens are likely incapable of FTL, so we should see them coming in good time.

Re:Military the first one, huh? (4, Insightful)

qbast (1265706) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289378)

You can't find any *human* motives for harming us. Alien lifeforms may have completely alien way of thinking and incomprehensible motivations. Even their definition of 'harm' may be different than ours.

Hold your horses. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289322)

I don't want go to war with aliens

Then you had better pray that they don't have oil.

Otherwise, in a flash they'd be declared part of the Axis of Evil by the same old Assholes of Evil. Then Yosemite Bush would 'lead' the charge and declare "Mission Accomplished" by the time they saw the dark side of the moon through their windows.

Re:Military the first one, huh? (0)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289620)

Yes just remember when your country's currency implodes and you are relegated to less than 3rd world status because your country is not designed to survive without the automobile, that spending money on alien research was a top priority.

Re:Military the first one, huh? (4, Insightful)

geekprime (969454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288988)

Do you have any idea how far away these "possible threats" actually are?

Really, it's a serious question.

Re:Military the first one, huh? (4, Insightful)

cryptoluddite (658517) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289272)

The possible threat is from mass panic and/or social unrest. Take somebody's whole lifetime of religious belief and pull the carpet out from under it and they'll react irrationally. Do that to the majority of people on the planet and you potentially have big problems.

I mean our fundamentalists already go crazy over basic science like evolution or climate change or conception, just imagine what they'd do if we weren't the Chosen planet, let alone how people in some place like the Middle East would react. You know for a certainty people would at least try to blow up the radio telescopes and cover up the knowledge. What else? Who knows, but the government having some time to plan and prepare before word got out would be valuable preparation.

Re:Military the first one, huh? (3, Interesting)

inasity_rules (1110095) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289362)

This is an interesting read. [wikipedia.org]

I find it sad that writers fear to explore religion in speculative fiction. The reaction (specifically of the majority of Christians -i.e. catholics) may not be what you think it is.

Re:Military the first one, huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289512)

"I find it sad that writers fear to explore religion in speculative fiction."

You mean explore the delusions of crazy people?

Aren't they explored enough with thousands of religions and sects each thinking they're the only one who got it right?

Re:Military the first one, huh? (2)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289674)

I mean our fundamentalists already go crazy over basic science like evolution or climate change or conception, just imagine what they'd do if we weren't the Chosen planet,

They would be divided between falling over each other reinterpretting their holy book to show that it predicted first contact, and insisting that first contact is a sign of the end of days and the aliens are devils in disguise.

Re:Military the first one, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289484)

"Do you have any idea how far away these "possible threats" actually are?"

Farther than Afghanistan?

Re:Military the first one, huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289412)

No, but if we find that the planet has some life but is also strangely radioactive, we might want to reconsider our emphasis on military approaches to every issue. The biggest threat to humanity is right here at home. The same is probably true for any alien intelligent enough to figure out how to put together a critical mass of uranium or plutonium.

Re:Military the first one, huh? (2)

whovian (107062) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289438)

It's the military having foresight, produence, and due diligence. Their main job is to defend us, and one of the major part of that is accessing new threats wherever they are.

If we were to find life on this planet, would you rather us to in completely blind about them?

I think you meant assessing, but the way things seem to work in the US, you would have been correct either way.

Re:Military the first one, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289508)

Wow, although I totally agree with the sentiment of your post, (I have been saying for years, develop better weapons before trying to find aliens) that was painful to read, as in my head almost asploded. Spell check is your friend, my friend. "Produence"? I assume you mean prudence. "Accessing new threats"? Like accessing data on a corrupted hard drive? Or maybe you mean assessing. "Would you rather us to in completely blind about them"? What? Is that even engrish? Not really sure what you were goin for there. Sorry, cant ftfy. Sorry to be a spelling nazi, but, wow. Speaking about due diligence...

Re:Military the first one, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289562)

Produence, eh? I'm sure whatever that is will be useful to them...

Re:Military the first one, huh? (4, Insightful)

ZankerH (1401751) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288746)

The military's job is fighting wars. Securing peace is the people's and governments' job.

Re:Military the first one, huh? (5, Insightful)

dokc (1562391) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288808)

The military's job is fighting wars. Securing peace is the people's and governments' job.

And the military is the only who does it's job.

Re:Military the first one, huh? (0, Troll)

Kevin Fishburne (1296859) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288980)

Mod up. There are lazy military personnel, but they are disproportionately smaller in number than the number of lazy civilians.

Re:Military the first one, huh? (1)

qbast (1265706) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289384)

Sure, if you define military's job as *fighting* wars rather than winning them then yes, they are working great.

Re:Military the first one, huh? (2, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288750)

. . . our U.S. military, who can't seem to figure peace out on our OWN planet . . .

Peace is not the job of the military. Their job is to fight wars. Peace is the job of politicians and diplomats.

"War is a mere continuation of politics by other means," ("Der Krieg ist eine bloße Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln") -- Carl von Clasewitz

However, when we meet aliens, the politicians and diplomats will base their decisions on intelligence gathered by the military folks. Like, "What are the aliens' true intentions?" Are they secretly lizards who chow down on rats, or are they just passing through the space neighborhood and stopped for a pee-break at the Earth?

Re:Military the first one, huh? (1)

bejiitas_wrath (825021) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288818)

The planet is 600 light years away, I think they would have to be very keen to travel that far to take over Earth. And what if the planet is just another gas giant?

Re:Military the first one, huh? (4, Insightful)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288848)

Well as luck would have it monitoring *one* planet is very reasonable and not overly resource intensive.

SETI's problem was always that they tried to monitor a *lot* of planet/star/whateverthefucks

Re:Military the first one, huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289208)

"I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world because they'd never expect it."
- Jack Handey

Explore, conquer, colonize. (5, Interesting)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288788)

Explore, conquer, colonize. We are humans. Resistance is futile.

There's intelligent life on our planet, and we are happily killing it into extinction for our own expansion. Looking at the way we behave at our own planet, I think it is extremely likely that we would inhabit every planet we can reach if it is inhabitable. And then take over sooner or later, with or without a struggle.

It's in the line of expectations that the military get involved early on. Humans have never explored anything unarmed.

Re:Explore, conquer, colonize. (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288942)

Explore, conquer, colonize. We are humans. Resistance is futile.

There's intelligent life on our planet, and we are happily killing it into extinction for our own expansion. Looking at the way we behave at our own planet, I think it is extremely likely that we would inhabit every planet we can reach if it is inhabitable. And then take over sooner or later, with or without a struggle.

It's in the line of expectations that the military get involved early on. Humans have never explored anything unarmed.

Blame natural evolution or god for creating us that way.

Re:Explore, conquer, colonize. (5, Insightful)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289294)

>Blame natural evolution or god for creating us that way.

Nah. Obviously, any human action depends on god/evolution to allow it, but often "blame" should lie more directly on for example culture/ideas than on the underlying plumbing that facilitates them.

In this case of violent human exploration it is true that genes are probably pretty directly involved as the humans explore in states of fear and greed, but ideas and culture is still a bigger factor, and also the one we can do something about.

While we have the capacity for violence and feelings of fear, anger, revenge and greed, we are also capable to marvel and feel sympathy, to be righteous and to share. The higher plane of ideas and culture is where we can work, building on a foundation of the genetics of a social, loving animal and overcoming the scared greedy brute within.

So, no, don't blame god or evolution, even if they're visibly present in the state of things, because also the malleable ideas and culture of fear, greed and ruthlessness are there, shaping the order of things at least as much. Ideas and culture we can work on more readily.

Don't surrender to what is hardwired. Work around it in the software.

Re:Explore, conquer, colonize. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288976)

Actually, humans might have explored stuff unarmed, but there are very few reports from those times on account of the lions/tigers/kraken/other beasts eating the first explorers because they were unarmed.

And I say go for it. If it's empty, take it. If it's not, just throw coke bottles and big macs, show them some blockbuster movies and promise cheap ipads, and we don't have to do sh*t, they'll submit willingly.

Re:Explore, conquer, colonize. (4, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289052)

Pacifism is great and all that, but it only works if the other guy does NOT want to kill you.
Now if you're dealing with a psychopath, hungry carnivore, mugger, hostile alien warriors, etc, pacifism will only get you the short end of the stick, often followed by a funeral - if they can find enough of you to bury.

Re:Explore, conquer, colonize. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289382)

What the hell kind of muggers do you have in the US?

Re:Explore, conquer, colonize. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289428)

Pacifism is great and all that, but it only works if the other guy does NOT want to kill you.
Now if you're dealing with a psychopath, hungry carnivore, mugger, hostile alien warriors, etc, pacifism will only get you the short end of the stick, often followed by a funeral - if they can find enough of you to bury.

The best and safest way to deal with a psychopath is therapy or medical treatment.
Many hungry carnivores will not consider you a prey unless you act like one.
Muggers usually don't want to kill you unless you resist.
Hostile alien warriors are fictional and are best dealt with without using violence unless Don Quixote is your role model.

In all examples you gave, violence leads to a scenario where you are the most likely to end up dead.
On those occations where violence would work you are already in a position where don't have anything to fear to begin with.

Re:Explore, conquer, colonize. (5, Insightful)

meglon (1001833) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289468)

Of course, if they've figured out how to efficiently travel between stars, i'd lay money that no weapons we have are going to do a damn thing to them. These movies where the backwoods hicks with a hunting rifle take down the interplanetary killing machine is just about the biggest grasp at unbelievable as possible.

Re:Explore, conquer, colonize. (1, Flamebait)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289642)

Exactly. And the best way to defend yourself is forward defense. I learned this from a self-defense book by Bruce Lee that I studied in a book store when I was a kid. The method is not as easy as it might seem, though. It requires a constantly vigilant attitude and sharp senses. Basically, what you need to do first is train a lot of Jet Ki Do, Kit-tu, wing-chuck and all this shit. Then, you have to constantly watch your surroundings. If you see someone who looks suspicious or like a mugger, it's time for action. Suppose, for example, there is a suspiciously looking guy walking behind you. Forward defense means that you spot this guy early, and before he can do anything you kick the living daylight out of him without a warning. Since you have the initiative you will quickly overwhelm him---and you are safe and unharmed and can go on with your daily business. (Just make sure you kick him a few additional times while he's lying on the floor, so he cannot get after you.)

Thank you Bruce Lee, for this marvelous book! And you, dear fellow /. readers, may thank me for this valuable information! I salute you!

HAnd how will they know that ? (5, Insightful)

aepervius (535155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289026)

kepler 22 is ~600 LY away. At the best case even if we were sending a message today , they would not receive is at roughly christmas 2611 and even at average 20% c speed their ship would not be there before many millennium, to find either a highly advanced civilization, or barbarian from a fallen society. How would they *divine* that it was sent by our military ? Would they even *CARE* that some folk military 600 LY away has their panty in a knot ? And we are not even sending a message, as far as I can read we are only checking.

Anyway the article make it clear that space command seems to be more interested into mundane stuff.

Re:HAnd how will they know that ? (3, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289402)

You have it backwards, yet correct. We're only looking at them, so what we will see is how they were 600 years ago.

If they looked our way today, they would have front-row seats to the rise of the Ottoman empire.

Re:HAnd how will they know that ? (5, Funny)

Ardeaem (625311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289516)

If they looked our way today, they would have front-row seats to the rise of the Ottoman empire.

Front row seats? If I had front row tickets to a concert, and they seated me 600 light years away, I'd be pissed. Unless it was a Disaster Area [wikia.com] concert. Or Justin Bieber.

Re:HAnd how will they know that ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289432)

or barbarian from a fallen society

...or most likely, barbarian apes.

Re:Military the first one, huh? (2)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289434)

Seti just listens and doesn't really poke things. I don't think we have the ability to actively poke something 600 light years away. How can anything really know we're watching if we're only using passive means to observe it? The time to start worrying maybe is when our radio and TV signals finally reach that planet.

Who does the "USAF Space Command" command? (2, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288692)

Do they have a bunch of "Space Marines" ready to jump out of the trunk of the Space Shuttle, like in Moonraker? Or are they working on "Space Warrior Robot Soldiers?" . . . definitely more geekier!

Will our first contact with Alien Life be with military space drones? That ought to work out nice: "Oh, the Alien Military Drones' way of saying they like you, is to bite your Military Space Drone in the ankle!"

Well, I guess I won't have to worry about such contacts happening in my lifetime. Unless we figure out how to surf those faster-than-light-neutrinos.

Or maybe . . . "they" know how to do it?

"Alien Charlie does surf!"

Re:Who does the "USAF Space Command" command? (3, Informative)

guttentag (313541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288778)

OK, I'll bite.

We're not talking about Buzz Lightyear, Space Ranger.

USAF Space Command is responsible for military satellites that support other commands. For a while, it was also responsible for intercontinental ballistic missiles (Anyone remember War Games? Or Spies Like Us? "Do you know what those things can do? Suck the paint off your house and give your family a permanent orange afro." Space Command was responsible for "those things" that the 1980s believed would bring about the end of the world.), but in recent years traded that responsibility for "cyber operations" (you know, the people who are watching the Chinese who are reading your email).

Re:Who does the "USAF Space Command" command? (4, Funny)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288836)

Yeah, right, deep space radar... Maybe Kepler-22b doesn't have a Stargate?

Re:Who does the "USAF Space Command" command? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288864)

We're not talking about Buzz Lightyear, Space Ranger.

Could we at least be taking about UESC Marines; Mjolnir cyborgs?

Re:Who does the "USAF Space Command" command? (1)

Kevin Fishburne (1296859) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289012)

Maybe they just saw Dangaioh for the first time and shit themselves over how high-quality the animation was. After they cross fought the bureaucracy of a functional government, perhaps they also realized that physics theories less than a century old wouldn't hold forever and that better mathematical models would emerge through mechanized observation and analysis rather than human introspection and creativity. Einstein is out, SETI is in. I guess their computers are faster and their lenses broader.

Re:Who does the "USAF Space Command" command? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289494)

Well, from watching the declassified space documentary, "Stargate SG-1" they command a moderate size fleet of intergalactic-capable starships integrated with alien technology. They also regularly travel to other planets using an ancient alien device that creates wormholes.

Space Situational Awareness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288696)

Aren't these planets hundreds of light years away? Their money would be better spent looking for potential Earth impacting asteroids or comets.

Re:Space Situational Awareness? (2)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288800)

Of course.

But from the military's point of view, you cannot declare War on Asteroids, but you can declare War on Aliens. So, it's way more useful to find the aliens than to find the asteroids.

Re:Space Situational Awareness? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288902)

I thought you americans could declare and lose wars on anything? Drugs, for example?

Re:Space Situational Awareness? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289018)

Don't forget our unacknowledged losses in our wars on poverty, illiteracy, and terrorism as well!

All these war losses sound positively French, but our key victory strategy is *not to acknowledge when we are defeated*! That way, we avoid the dishonor of surrender while *also* giving ourselves the opportunity to continue pumping trillions of dollars into lost causes!

This seems a counterintuitive goal, but stay with me. It all becomes clear once you realize that these black holes that we are pouring all this treasure into just so happen to feed our military industrial complex, our bloated leech of a federal government bureaucracy, and our teachers unions (yeah, they suck at life, *but they vote regularly*)

I anticipate a long future of US society continuing the vaunted tradition of maintaining our institutionalized failures.

Re:Space Situational Awareness? (1)

Kevin Fishburne (1296859) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289020)

Poverty, drugs, and now terrorism. At least there's an outlet for all the perverts since they can get hired by the TSA. Better publicly groping people than buying the windowless van.

Jill Tarter (5, Informative)

SecurityTheatre (2427858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288748)

I ran into Ms Tarter (the director of SETI) at the Oakland airport a few years ago and recognized her from her numerous bits of SETI branded gear she had.

I was very pleased to find that she was both passionate and intelligent, as well as very pragmatic. We had the chance to talk for over and hour before the flight left and discussed many of the things that are interesting about the whole project.

I certainly consider myself lucky to have seen a part of that and heard it first hand.

Re:Jill Tarter (-1, Troll)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288862)

Yes, but did she look like a good fuck in a hotel room after a few highballs at the bar following her seminar talk? How big are her BOOBS?

Re:Jill Tarter (1)

SecurityTheatre (2427858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288982)

She's in her 60s, I think. :-)

No further offence intended to 60 year olds, but I certainly don't run with the image of highballs and boobs.

Re:Jill Tarter (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289198)

Everybody knows at that age it's 'Low balls' and 'Sagging boobs' :'D

Re:Jill Tarter (1)

Kevin Fishburne (1296859) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289022)

You should report the details of the most interesting parts of the discussion, then. Could make a whole damn article if it reflected the general direction of the project.

Habitable Zone.... (2)

mlauzon (818714) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288762)

The funny thing is, just because our planet supports life in this so-called 'habitable zone', doesn't mean life cannot thrive outside of this zone, until we actually have interstellar travel we'll never know for sure!

Re:Habitable Zone.... (2)

Rennt (582550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288812)

Of course - but it is still smarter to start looking in places where we know life can exist then it is to start with all the places that we don't.

Re:Habitable Zone.... (2)

Rennt (582550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288824)

We are also far more likely to want to trade/compete/fight/have sex with 'habitable zone' aliens.

Habitable zone for aliens along Arizona border (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289006)

"The funny thing is, just because our planet supports life in this so-called 'habitable zone', doesn't mean life cannot thrive outside of this zone, until we actually have interstellar travel we'll never know for sure!"

Both Tucson and Phoenix seems to be habitable zones for aliens. Life appears to thriving well as far as i can tell from space (http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=32.888813,-111.489258&spn=1.399932,1.977539&t=h&vpsrc=6&z=9).

As they have been terraforming for decades, interstellar travels seem completely redundant.

Situational awareness? (5, Funny)

Ardeaem (625311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288872)

Before I read that the array was going to be used by the Air Force for non-SETI purposes (something not made apparent by the summary), my thought was: "The planet is 600 light years away. Let's say we detect radio signals from Kepler-22b. That means we know that on a planet 3 quadrillion miles away, some species used radio signals 600 years ago. That's not exactly situational awareness..."

I imagined a conversation about "situational awareness" during the Iraq war going something like this:

General: So, what's the situation?
Advisor: Sir! In the 15th century, the Aztecs defeated Azcapotzalco, sir!
General: Excellent!

Re:Situational awareness? (5, Informative)

Ardeaem (625311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288884)

Just to make clear: The Air Force does not want to check Kepler 22b. Here's [seti.org] what they want:

AFSPC, through the Space Innovation and Development Center (SIDC), is currently researching the possible use of the ATA to augment the already extensive sensors of the Space Surveillance Network, potentially leveraging the array to help increase space situational awareness. Initial demonstrations show promise for the ATA to track transmitting satellites in Low Earth Orbit, Medium Earth Orbit and, most promising, in Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO), which is home to the most costly, highly-utilized, and vital satellites that orbit the earth. A collision and subsequent debris field in GEO could permanently remove the GEO belt from worldwide use.

In other news... (4, Funny)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288916)

Apple quietly got a grant from the U.S. Air Force Space Command to develop a virus for 'space-craft defensive measures'...

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289040)

They've also been granted several "on a spacecraft" patents.

Re:In other news... (1)

captjc (453680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289472)

I...uh...believe there...uh...were also...uh...also several papers ...uh...published on the topic of...uh...Chaos...uh...Chaos Theory...uh...as well.

Uh...Also check out...uh...reruns of ...uh...Law and...uh...Order Criminal...uh...Criminal Intent on...uh...uh...USA! Characters...uh...Welcome.

But why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288950)

The AFSPC's vision:
"Global Access, Persistence and Awareness for the 21st Century"

Their mission:
Provide Resilient and Cost-Effective Space and Cyberspace Capabilities for the Joint Force and the Nation

http://www.afspc.af.mil/library/

How does searching exoplanets fit into either their mission or their vision?

I'm all for what they're doing and SETI in general, but it doesn't make sense.

Have they detected oil there? (1)

kubusja (581677) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289150)

Can we create with French 'Friends of Kepler-22b' and free them from their opressive dictators?

So that evidence can be suppressed... (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289160)

The Air Force pays for the research. The Air Force owns the output of the research. The Air Force suppresses report stating national security.

This is not as batcrap crazy as it sounds. (3, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289396)

The Fermi paradox isn't just a cute bit of philosophy. Our galaxy should be teeming with life. We live on prime real estate, the Thrints should have colonised it back in the Cambrian.

So either we're unique (inconceivable), ~8.8 billion years isn't long enough for any other species anywhere in the Milky Way to have kicked off colonisation (improbable), or something is silencing them (merely unlikely and scary).

Maybe we should take a look at that third possibility, and take a good hard look around rather than shouting "Here we are! Hey, over here, life!" into the void. Paranoid? Yes, but we're gambling the species on it, and the costs are essentially pocket lint.

Re:This is not as batcrap crazy as it sounds. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289580)

The Drake equation is widely mocked, but it's still our best current method for dealing with this sort of question. I have seen one attempt at enumerating it that included a term for the duration that a planet spends within a star's habitable zone. That term alone ruled out the rise of multicellular life on a large number of worlds simply because a world didn't remain in the right temperature range long enough for anything but alien bacteria-like things to evolve. The planet gets liquid water, then wobbles out of place again and either freezes or boils. End of life on that rock. The final figure that it came out with was probably biased towards the pessemistic side, suggesting that there are about 0.1 extant technological civilisations on average per galaxy.

As I said, I think that figure is too low, but if we assume it's in the right region it explains our observations. It would mean we are not entirely unique in the universe, but we may well be unique in this galaxy. That fits in with our observations of the galaxy so far.

New SETI business plan, courtesy of USAF: (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289544)

Our five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before so we can target them and take them out.

Re:New SETI business plan, courtesy of USAF: (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289686)

Our five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before so we can target them and take them out.

If you're going to quote Star Trek, get it right. The plan was for Kirk to shag as many green and blue 3 breasted women as he could.

Funding is funding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38289556)

Incidentally, they would have pointed at Kepler 22b anyway, so the USAF probably wasted some cash (shocker).

Translation: (1)

gedankenhoren (2001086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38289678)

The USAF, still flush, has decided to buy the sort of science experiment whose vain, reel-to-reel-style bookishness projects just the image they've been searching for: that of a CIA drone operative mindlessly and with great ease and accuracy pressing a particular button.
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