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No Transmitting Aliens Detected In Kepler SETI Search

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the romantic-illusions dept.

Earth 197

astroengine writes "By focusing the Green Bank radio telescope on stars hosting (candidate) exoplanets identified by NASA's Kepler space telescope, it is hoped that one of those star systems may also play host to a sufficiently evolved alien race capable of transmitting radio signals into space. But in a study headed by ex-SETI chief Jill Tarter, the conclusion of this first attempt is blunt: 'No signals of extraterrestrial origin were found.' But this is the just first of the 'directed' SETI searches that has put some very important limits on the probability of finding sufficiently advanced alien civilizations in our galaxy."

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197 comments

They're hiding... (4, Funny)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825095)

I blame Jersey Shore

Re:They're hiding... (4, Insightful)

tippe (1136385) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825311)

Maybe all of the other aliens are smart enough to prevent the radio waves of their versions of Jersey Shore (and other cruft) from spilling out into space. Maybe we're the only dumb ones that let it happen. We're probably the laughing stock of the galaxy...

Re:They're hiding... (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826539)

Radio? Clearly even aliens now have cable.

Re:They're hiding... (1)

quenda (644621) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827463)

Anthropic principle: we can only be searching for Aliens in spaces/universes where they do not exist.
If they did exist in our part of the universe we'd be dead already.
(If they were friendly, they'd have been wiped out already by another race that is not.)

Re:They're hiding... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42825809)

I blame socialism. We'd be warp capable if we were doing what we're doing now, but 30 years ago.

Relax, I'm teasing.

Re:They're hiding... (4, Informative)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825999)

Jersey Shore aired in Dec 2009. The nearest star, Proxima Centauri, is at 4.2421 light years distance.
The knowledge about Jersey Shore can not reached have reached any exoplanet host systems.

Re:They're hiding... (2)

rts008 (812749) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826367)

Default fallback programming: "I Love Lucy".
They have had plenty of time to develop cloaking technology against our mind destroying Weapons of Mass Broadcast. We have terrified the galaxy within a 60 light year radius, pedant.

Re:They're hiding... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42826379)

Only an alien would know that.

Wait...!

Re:They're hiding... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42826993)

To our knowledge.

Interstellar scout ships are pretty likely to be beyond our ability to detect. Just because we think light speed is a hard limit doesn't make it so. Remember, we used to think the sound barrier was past us.

This year .... (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827335)

...they'll get that signal. So make your peace now and prepare for the inevitable extermination.

keep trying (2)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825101)

Radio signals can deattenuate with range, other aliens might not be running a SETI program (and therefore glowing in the sky because they transmit stuff to random stars), they might be much further away and so their signals haven't reached us yet. The universe is enormous, no doubt there's *someone* out there.

Re:keep trying (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825173)

Quite the assumption on alien life forms using radio waves, but I guess as a civilization we gotta start somewhere with the search. Or, we can follow the sci-fi model and colonize worlds UNTIL we find alien life. The latter makes more sense in a lot of ways. I'm going to go think of a profit model for colonization now.

Re:keep trying (1)

Amouth (879122) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825323)

i don't think it is quite an assumption for any intelligent alien life to utilize em radiation, it would only be "quite the assumption" to believe they use it exactly like we do.

Re:keep trying (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825911)

There are statistical measurements of deviation from random noise. This is what they do. Or should be if not, I never bothered to check out SETI's analysis methods.

Re:keep trying (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826843)

"... it would only be "quite the assumption" to believe they use it exactly like we do."

Right. But that assumption isn't really made. SETI At Home, for example, essentially does Fourier analysis on signals, looking for patterns. While they may not use it as we do, having patterns in the signal is a pretty safe assumption. Or to perhaps be more accurate: we don't know of a way to look for signals that do not exhibit patterns.

Re:keep trying (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825369)

Assuming they're using some FTL communicator, let's call it 'subspace radio' we still can't detect it at our level of technology. Also, you'd be assuming it is even detectable and not a secure transmission like entanglement would be if physics worked that way. EM is the best we can do for SETI.

Re:keep trying (0)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825475)

The problem with colonizing is basically the radiation in space pretty much kills everything given the time frames involved at sub-light speeds. We might work out some way to get to Mars and back with some kind of shielding, but we are talking about round trips that take under a year and the radiation doses will be pretty bad for those of reproductive age or younger. I hate to think of what would happen at 20 years round trip, assuming you could get to half the speed of light....

I think the best we can hope for is limited local (no further than Mars) travel.

Re:keep trying (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826377)

The problem with colonizing is basically the radiation in space pretty much kills everything given the time frames involved at sub-light speeds..

Uh, the answer to radiation in space is... shielding. If you're building a colony ship you can live in for a century while traveling between stars, the mass of required shielding will be small compared to the mass of the ship.

Re:keep trying (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826807)

FYI, water, which you'll have to carry anyway, makes pretty good shielding.

Re:keep trying (2)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827041)

Shielding is pretty much all about mass. You need boat loads of mass to make an effective enough shield to survive in space for very long. You can use water, but you need to get it into space (or find it someplace already in space), then climb inside and get all this mass heading in the correct direction (burning fuel or something) fast enough you don't die before you get there, then slow down all this mass so you can stop someplace (more fuel). All this amounts to HUGE amounts of mass..

I really don't think that we are going to figure this problem out any time before the sun burns us to cinders in a billion years.

Re:keep trying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42826061)

Or their signals have long since passed us.

Re:keep trying (2)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826855)

"The universe is enormous, no doubt there's *someone* out there."

So, you believe in the "invisible man in the sky" too huh? ;)

Re:keep trying (1, Insightful)

sadboyzz (1190877) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827093)

"The universe is enormous, no doubt there's *someone* out there."

So, you believe in the "invisible man in the sky" too huh? ;)

The belief in extraterrestrial life is at least based on the observation that life exists on Earth, and the number of stars and planets like our Sun and Earth in the universe is .. astronomical.

The belief in God has no such basis.

Re:keep trying (0)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827199)

Other than one belief requires no proof, and the other doesn't either.

So, how does one scientifically justify wild ass guesses without any proof or evidence and call it science in your world?

And while you MAY be correct in that there is life elsewhere in the universe, it has never been observed or tested, making it not "science" but more "math". For all we know, the earth is unique in the Universe, and if it is, that would be pretty special, wouldn't it? You believe differently, and that is okay, but doesn't make it science.

Re:keep trying (3, Insightful)

Velex (120469) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827411)

Yes. The idea that life could evolve in the same way it did here somewhere else in the galaxy with similar conditions is just as looney as believing in a sky wizard who hates homosexuals and loves killing brown people, who believe in another, but different sky wizard who likewise hates homosexuals but loves killing white people, and each sky wizard claims that the other is a false sky wizard, although they both agree that the world is 6,000 years old. Yeah, those two things are both completely the same. You sure delivered a convincing argument there.

Thirst Toast (2)

ButchDeLoria (2772751) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825105)

What a shame if all this effort means Earth is the only planet to harbor intelligent life. Or worse, the first.

Re:Thirst Toast (5, Interesting)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825319)

Well, suppose hypothetically there is another civilization that reached the point we are at now over 100,000 years ago, and they happen to reside near a star that is a million light years away. In such a scenario, we won't hear a peep from them for another 900,000 years.

The only other possibility is that they use some form of communication that is faster than light, which would mean they are using something other than EM based communication. EM based communication is all that we have the capability of looking for.

Due to the sheer size of the known universe, it is inevitable that there is sentient life beyond earth. Even if what we have here is merely a pattern of chemicals, that pattern is bound to have repeated elsewhere, if not identically then very similarly.

Re:Thirst Toast (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42825849)

Until we know precisely how _life_ started, not just amino acids, proteins, or other chemical patterns, it is pure speculation to say that life's existence elsewhere is inevitable.

Re:Thirst Toast (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826229)

"The Universe is big and old and rare things happen all the time, including life."
Lawrence Krauss (I think).

You'll have to forgive me for deferring to the judgement of someone who has more of a chance of grasping just how big and old the Universe really is*. There are about 300 billion stars in our galaxy alone; to think that only one of them will ever warm a life bearing planet seems absurd... but then again that's a leap of faith too, even if it is a somewhat smaller one.

*Yes, yes, I know it's an appeal to authority but despite first impressions I like to think that /. can - occasionally - rise above the level of a rowdy little high school debating club.

Re:Thirst Toast (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827187)

It's probably going to happen in the opposite order. I bet we'll know the inevitability of life, long before we ever know where our life came from.

Someone will create conditions where a new tree of life can spontaneously start, or else we'll find a different independent already-existing one. Meanwhile, all traces of our own tree root will still be three-billion-years eroded/eaten.

Re:Thirst Toast (2, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825863)

We already have non-human sentient life on our planet - many cetaceans are sentient - but we are utterly unable to recognize it. The only sentient life humans will actually recognize, are the ones that carry bigger guns than ours. Sad but true.

Re:Thirst Toast (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826137)

I qualified my "sentient life" comment with "beyond earth".

Re:Thirst Toast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42826193)

If we were unable to recognize it you'd have no idea.

And we recognize thousands of kinds of communication that aren't the human voice in the audible range.

So your entire premise is garbage. Don't go with boilerplate responses, they make you sound stupid.

Re:Thirst Toast (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826399)

Due to the sheer size of the known universe, it is inevitable that there is sentient life beyond earth.

[citation needed]

Yeah, it's possible that there are other creatures like us in other galaxies, but our galaxy appears to be a wilderness. Since we could colonise it within ten million years, that's a pretty good sign that there aren't any others here.

Re:Thirst Toast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42826901)

There's a word for people who live in a world where only that which has been proven by a third party is true. Some may call those people close-minded, but I like to use another word...

Re:Thirst Toast (2)

ngc3242 (1039950) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826871)

Our galaxy is roughly 110,000 light years across. Our largest satellite galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, are less then 200,000 light years away.

Re:Thirst Toast (1)

davidbrit2 (775091) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825755)

What a shame if all this effort means Earth is the only planet to harbor intelligent life. Or worse, the first.

Or worse still, the last.

Re:Thirst Toast (2)

Coffee Warlord (266564) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825799)

What a shame if all this effort means Earth is the only planet to harbor intelligent life.
Or worse, the first.

Nah, it'd be kind of cool to be the ones strutting around in our encounter suits spouting enigmatic one-liners to the lesser civilizations.

The only drawback is we need to rapidly speed up our medical research so we live long enough to see it.

Re:Thirst Toast (1)

BumpyCarrot (775949) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826553)

AND SO... IT BEGINS.

maybe its time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42825119)

to get a life. but slash dot is so much better (cries)

Clearly... (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825125)

They've all moved on to cable TV.

But wait until there's a blackout of our stuff (4, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825137)

All it takes is an episode of "Single Female Lawyer" blacking out and sooner or later we'll get invaded by aliens.

Stealth became a necessary tactic (4, Insightful)

concealment (2447304) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825175)

Other aliens out there may have discovered what we haven't yet figured out:

Not everyone in the universe is nice.

Having a whole bunch of radio signals emanating from your planet is like saying "rob me! rape me! kill me!" to any wandering castoffs from alien civilization.

It might not even be organized military action; only pirates, or serial killers, or even just disaffected artists with a flesh fetish.

Re:Stealth became a necessary tactic (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825253)

More likely they've figured out either a more advanced communications technology than radio, or have gone to tightbeaming for long distances. Or they, like us, aren't putting out any signals that get beyond a couple of light years.

Re:Stealth became a necessary tactic (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825339)

I bet it's the latter. Any civilization that has electricity should be emitting radio energy (even if it's just noise from circuits) but if it isn't focused and directed it won't make it very far.

Re:Stealth became a necessary tactic (3, Interesting)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825443)

What more advanced communications technologies are there without altering the laws of physics? On one hand, those who speculate on , overunity energy which requires undiscovered physics are called lunatics, and yet, people freely speculate that there is undiscovered physics for a non radio communication system.

Re:Stealth became a necessary tactic (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825671)

Yes, I'm of the opinion that science, technology and engineering will continue to advance long after I'm gone, probably to heights I would struggle to comprehend just as a visitor from the 18th century would struggle to understand what we've achieved, and as such feel comfortable indulging in speculation. It's deriding such speculation that is indicative of an unscientific mind.

Who knows, maybe they will send carrier pigeons down wormholes.

Re:Stealth became a necessary tactic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42826911)

What more advanced communications technologies are there without altering the laws of physics?

Even broadspectrum radio transmissions would not be detectable unless you know what you are looking for. They will just look like noise.

Whatever technology non-earth civilizations are using, they probably are not using radio as we know it. People have the idiotic idea that if something is state of the art here, then it must be state of the art in a completely different evolutionary timeline. Sorry, but no. Star Trek premisses in this regard are laughable at best. Depiction of alien life forms in most other stories (at least the popular ones making it onscreen) is even more ridicules.

Remember back in 1800s when it was considered that physics was all found out and there is nothing else to discover??? Yeah, breakthroughs like that happened afterward, especially nuclear physics finally explaining thinks like "why is the sun shining?". Speculating on what they may be is pointless as what they are and what we speculate tend to be completely different (String Theory type speculations - not even wrong).

The only way we are going to advance our knowledge is through experiments driving model development. Solid state physics is in its infancy - we don't even know how superconductors work, never mind how to derive properties of a metal solid from first principles. Nuclear physics is at a stage of "rubbing two sticks together" to generate nuclear power. In subatomics (particle physics), we are only starting to see the period table of subatomic particles. What does that structure imply? We don't know. And finally, gravity, well, we are no closer to understanding it than 100 years ago, or even back when Newton said F=Gm1m2/r^2. All we know is how to measure G, and hence we know what the mass of the earth is. But how gravity fits with the other forces? No idea. Quantum mechanics - we know how to apply it, but why does it work? How do you unify quantum with non-quantum world?

How much was discovered in last 100 years? How much will be in next 1,000,000 years?

So please, little respect. We know a small, tiny understanding of the "laws of physics" (more like laws of this universe). There is plenty that remains to be discovered.

Re:Stealth became a necessary tactic (1)

HybridST (894157) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827423)

'Nuclear physics is at a stage of
"rubbing two sticks together" to generate
nuclear power.'

Not quite correct. In the 50s we were at the 2 sticks phase but we're now looking fpr the right king of tinder and imagining a firebow.

Re:Stealth became a necessary tactic (1)

HybridST (894157) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827451)

*for the right...
** kind of tinder

I loathe iTyping!

Re:Stealth became a necessary tactic (2)

MMC Monster (602931) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827159)

Gravity waves? Neutrinos? Laser? Quantum entangled electrons?

Re:Stealth became a necessary tactic (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825375)

ok

an advanced civilization with the knowledge to travel the stars will attack earth just to steal our fossil fuel and incandescent light bulbs

easier to just mine asteroids and other bodies for natural resources

Re:Stealth became a necessary tactic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42825673)

"There light bulbs are very yellow. Rob them!"

Re:Stealth became a necessary tactic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42825973)

Fossil Fuels aren't found on asteroids...

In all likely hood, they would come to colonize the Earth since it is the perfect distance to the host star to support liquid water and an existing ecosystem that isn't dependent on any one species that would resist colonization.

Re:Stealth became a necessary tactic (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826449)

In all likely hood, they would come to colonize the Earth since it is the perfect distance to the host star to support liquid water and an existing ecosystem that isn't dependent on any one species that would resist colonization.

So they're going to burn more energy than the human race has used since the beginning of time to come here and colonize Earth, when they could just dismantle a planet in their own system and build a Dyson sphere?

The only thing Earth has that aliens couldn't find elsewhere is Earth life. And after all that cattle mutilation and anal probing, they should have plenty enough DNA to rebuild that wherever they want to live.

Re:Stealth became a necessary tactic (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825533)

Having a whole bunch of radio signals emanating from your planet is like saying "rob me! rape me! kill me!" to any wandering castoffs from alien civilization.

It's more like saying that while penniless and surrounded by mountains of gold. Anyone capable of interstellar travel has easier access to anything we have to offer than invading a planet and boosting it up from the surface (more likely the bigger factor). There's more usable metal in the trojan asteroids around Jupiter than all that humanity has dug up in its history. More water in the cometary halo and various moons than could conceivably be cost efficient to boost into orbit from the Earth's surface. And that ignores all the hundreds of thousands (if not hundreds of millions) of uninhabited systems which most likely have a similar level of resources.

Now, the serial killers and flesh fetishists you have a point. Wonder if anyone has written some sci-fi where humanity makes contact with the lowest, poorest, stupidest, backwards redneck the aliens have to offer.

Re:Stealth became a necessary tactic (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825697)

Wonder if anyone has written some sci-fi where humanity makes contact with the lowest, poorest, stupidest, backwards redneck the aliens have to offer.

I have met the enemy, and he is me. :p

Re:Stealth became a necessary tactic (3, Funny)

dissy (172727) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826723)

Wonder if anyone has written some sci-fi where humanity makes contact with the lowest, poorest, stupidest, backwards redneck the aliens have to offer.

You mean StarTrek Voyager?

*RUNS*

Re:Stealth became a necessary tactic (1)

BumpyCarrot (775949) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826477)

I sincerely hope that those concepts are truly alien to any passers-by. With luck, their best approximation of a cruel dictatorship would have wizards riding unicorns through the sky carrying banners reading "MAN I BET YOU JUST HATE YOUR FREE CHEESEBURGERS AND WEEKENDS AWAY IN VENUSIAN PLEASURE DOMES, PUNY EARTHLINGS. WHATEVER."

Re:Stealth became a necessary tactic (1)

WillgasM (1646719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826781)

you forgot "assimilate"

Re:Stealth became a necessary tactic (2)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827009)

A really good point. There is a strong argument that the first thing you should do on detecting an alien civilization is to attack with stealth R-bombs (or substitute your favorite interstellar weapon). Of the possible outcomes:

1. they were hostile: you got them first, you win!

2. They were incredibly more advanced than you: The attack will seem cute to them, sort of like a kitten pouncing you your toes. Maybe they will post pictures of you on their tentacle-book site.

3. They were friendly: Sad, but some other civilization would have gotten them if you hadn't.

If you don't attack:

1: they r-bomb you
2: no change
3: someone else destroys them, and if they don't you will just wind up competing for resources anyway.

More seriously, I think its a great idea to look for signs of alien intelligence as long as we under no circumstances try to contact them.

Remember, when the guys on the ships meet the guys on the shore, you want to be the guys on the ships......

Re:Stealth became a necessary tactic (1)

sadboyzz (1190877) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827211)

Oh I wouldn't worry about that. We've only had radio for less than 150 years. How many stars are there within a 150 ly radius? By the time the very first signal from Earth reaches the center of the galaxy, the human kind may have long destroyed itself.

Re:Stealth became a necessary tactic (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827247)

Having a whole bunch of radio signals emanating from your planet is like saying "rob me! rape me! kill me!" to any wandering castoffs from alien civilization.

Unless we detect such signals. In which case, a bunch of radio signals means "come into this trap."

Hey, you're right: paranoia is fun!

I Predict... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42825183)

that the atheists will be missing from the discussion.

Re:I Predict... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42825569)

Maybe so, but the agnostics are out in force looking for proof of nothing....

They're already here (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42825233)

under your grounds. Up in yer caves. They were here before we were. Who do you think terraformed this planet in 7 days and genetically enhanced the native apes? Well, they're not the ones that are underground. Those underground lizard people are the "fallen angels" bible-fags call Satan. More like deported rebels.

No idea why bible-fags fuck this story up so much when it's all pretty clearly laid out in their favorite book.

excuse me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42825255)

sir,

i am writing to you regarding the deletion of my post, invariant of the fact that i could be a troll, i demand you do not delete this post or i will summon the group, not called anonymous, but called the anonymous cowards, who will momentarily keep you occupied. you have been warned...

AC

you insensitiv3 clod! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42825277)

It wiil be among [goat.cx]

Is there any reason.... (5, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825287)

... to think that anything in line with typical-strength radio broadcasts (and which were not being specifically directed out towards the stars for an attempt to send an interplanetary signal) from a distant planet would have any chance of being decipherable from background noise if the origin of such a signal were even as near as the closest star?

Re:Is there any reason.... (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825405)

None at all, the 'radio bubble' is a myth. SETI can at best find directed transmissions, aka other alien SETI programs doing the same thing we are.

Re:Is there any reason.... (3, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826041)

Actually, we don't do much directed broadcasts so even that is a stretch. Less than a couple dozen directed transmissions so far that would actually be detectable when they reached their destination. Only one of those has reached its destination, and even if there happened to be aliens living there (which seems even less likely given what we've learned about the star since then) we wouldn't have heard a response back yet.

Re:Is there any reason.... (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825531)

unless this search could detect broadcast type terrestial signals that radio stations use, these studies are not a sure way to discount the idea of ET civilisations on planets, in fact, they do not, as the number of civilisations with TV and Radio broadcasts terrestrially, but have decided its not a good idea to broadcast ridiculously powerful signals that could be heard light years away, is probably very large.

Re:Is there any reason.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827057)

My point was that even *WE* don't typically broadcast signals of sufficient strength to even be distinguishable from background noise only as far away as the nearest star, much less any further, unless we very specifically intend to. So unless an alien civilization somewhere out there were actively trying to send signals to the stars, we aren't ever going to discover them with SETI. Period.

Re:Is there any reason.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42825559)

I've wondered about this since reading about the difficulties of getting transmissions back from voyager. It's not as powerful as sources on earth, but it's also very close to Earth (compared to any other star).

Re:Is there any reason.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825613)

It's also highly directed.

Encryption? Light? Virtual particles? Stars? (2)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825463)

And any signal we might detect would have most of its entropy shifted to the main signal block, followed by a little orderly decryption section, which to us, would also look like noise, so running your signal though a zipf analysis probably wouldn't work.

Frankly, I think the radio thing is a bit silly. The detectable radio interval for any civilization is likely to be quite short. Even we're moving to photonics wherever possible. We'd probably do better looking for light signals, or astronomical star sized objects that look like artifacts, or creating large area Casimir antennas in space capable of detecting wide area, coherent changes to virtual particle activity.

What more proof do you need? (4, Funny)

mcmonkey (96054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42825503)

That they are cloaking their communications, is not only proof of alien intelligence, but a clear sign of hostile intent.

We must attack before they do.

Re:What more proof do you need? (2)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826833)

You first. I'm baking them cookies.

Re:What more proof do you need? (1)

Nehmo (757404) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826857)

OK, how?

Re:What more proof do you need? (2)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827479)

Attached: boobies.jpg.exe

huh: candidate radio signals (less than 5 Hz) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42825719)

Perhaps I'm misreading the article but if the article is referring something like 3db bandwidth in the statement "candidate narrow-band radio signals (less than 5 Hz) between 1-2 GHz" they should mention a few terrestial examples. I can't think of any but I am willing to be educated.

Looking for life back in time (1)

Dishwasha (125561) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826035)

One thing to take in to consideration is which of the 86 stars they pointed at and their distances from us. As long as they stuck to star systems in the Milky Way galaxy, all this really says is that other planet didn't have the capability to transmit radio frequencies up to 75,000 years ago (considerably longer for systems outside our galaxy). Considering we just got the capability only 107 years ago, if any alien race is roughly on par with our origins, speed of evolution, and technology advancement, we won't know if they exist for another several thousand years. That is if they haven't figured out how to break the light barrier and then we figure out how to detect it.

Higher Intelligence = (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42826167)

alien forms of MPAA and RIAA. Imagine worlds being destroyed for infringement.

I for one welcome our restrictive overlords.

wow signal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42826195)

what about the wow signal? was it the 70s SETI detected a seemingly broadcast like signal, they checked again several years later but found nothing. will Kepler peek around there or maybe SETI will listen again? or is the wow signal considered a scam?

Putting on my tinfoil sci-fi hat... (1)

Panaflex (13191) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826277)

And if they had something better than Radio or Light, then why would they use inefficient slow tech?

Scientists are discovering physics and material hacks all the time, so the possibility of "instantaneous" communication is growing stronger. University labs are producing some interesting results that seem to skirt along the edges of information theory and quantum theory. It's unlikely, but possible. Check back in a hundred years or so...

Fermi Paradox (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826291)

Kirk Paradox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42826905)

Alien civilizations with the knowledge to travel the stars, may have developed ways of picking up far distant signals in a way that wouldn't force them to tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years to detect.

They've thus seen Kirk, and have blacklisted our species - they don't want no poo-flinging monkey offshoots bumping human horns with their genteel spacewomen.

Pink Floyd SETI: (4, Funny)

Hartree (191324) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826327)

Hello...?
Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone at home?

Perhaps we're the first (2)

gameboyhippo (827141) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826353)

Dr. Hugh Ross theorizes that we humans are at the earliest possible time intelligent life can exist in the Universe. So regardless on what you think on how we got here, it may not be possible for other intelligent physical life to have existed before us humans. Since reality is only 14.7 billion years old this is a plausible explanation.

Ugh... (1)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826433)

Those SETI guys have already had two signals that couldn't be explained, the WoW! Signal and another one from the Seti@Home program. Even if they did detect something it would end up the same way as those other two signals did. It would be explained by a shrug of the shoulders and a whisper to a colleague that it must be a signal from earth bouncing off Space junk. SETI is the joke of the Century.

Fact (4, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826443)

Fact:
The largest single aperture radio telescope in the world is the Arecibo Observatory.
It's maximum power output at 2380 MHz is 20 TW
If a matching radio telescope were placed on a planet orbiting our nearest star Alpha Centauri (4.2 light years away) and broadcast at full power, directly at earth... the signal would be too weak by the time it arrived for Arecibo to detect it.

We can't even detect our own radio signals with the best equipment we have at interstellar distances. I think it likely that we'll be well out of the radio age by the time we can... The fact that the sky isn't flooded with alien Television stations isn't because there are no aliens, it's because there's a better way to transmit that we haven't figured out yet.

Re:Fact (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42827125)

Fact: The largest single aperture radio telescope in the world is the Arecibo Observatory.

True

It's maximum power output at 2380 MHz is 20 TW

Not quite true. The 20 TW is what it would take to create istropic radiation of equivalent power to the beam, when Arecibo is operating as a radar.
The actual power transmitted is much less, and the return signal is hemispherically isotropic, which is what limits the radar range.

If a matching radio telescope were placed on a planet orbiting our nearest star Alpha Centauri (4.2 light years away) and broadcast at full power, directly at earth... the signal would be too weak by the time it arrived for Arecibo to detect it.

This is complete bullshit.
Arecibo could talk to a similar capability radio telescope a thousand light years away.
( If you put a 20 terawatt transmitter on it you could probably talk to Andromeda if you didn't melt the reflector first.)

Even if we found something (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42826645)

how long would it take for our answer to reach them? Just curious. If there signal would have taken thousands of years to reach us, I'm not waiting around to hear their reply to our reply. This makes it nothing more than a curiosity and not something that will cure all disease or solve poverty on our planet.

Aliens "block earth". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42826741)

They're scared to be sued by apple for whatever reason.
------------
(sorry for that bs, it's pretty late here)

Sure will be nice when... (1)

AndyKron (937105) | about a year and a half ago | (#42826811)

Sure will be nice when we figure out what everybody else in the galaxy is using for communicating long distances.

I Have To Wonder (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827067)

I wonder whether an "advanced" civilization would even be interested in expending the resources to send out signals in every direction, as mentioned in the article.

If not, that would explain the "mystery" of lack of contact so far.

Directional? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42827135)

Interstellar alien communication will be subject to the inverse square law. No matter what carrier (photons, neutrinos, ???) they will use a highly directional beam. Even (or especially) advanced civilisations won't waste gigawatts of power just to illuminate the vast voids of the universe.
So unless we get by luck into a alien signal beam, we won't hear from them anything.

To start a conversation we should probably direct a high power laser at a nearby star with a planet in the habitable zone. And then wait for an answer in the same spectrum. This also greatly reduces the not so unreal risk of attracting hostile aliens. Because if there were highly advanced hostile aliens in the neigbourhood we would probably know already.

not detectable (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827261)

Unless they are deliberately aiming a signal at us, we wouldn't be seeing anything. Even regular analog transmissions are impossible to see at this distance. And modern radio signals (cellular, encrypted, compressed) just look like low level random noise anyway.

Principal Skinner (1)

Trogre (513942) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827269)

"2012: No sighting".

Not surprised... now (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827339)

Not english speaker so was unsure if the headline was about "No transmiting aliens" found or No "transmitting aliens" found. If was the 1st alternative then was wondering how they found them if they didnt transmit anything, maybe a Ringworld, a Klemperer rosette or another non natural formation was detected.

Maybe should be considered how much power is needed to transmit something to a particular point of the sky, strong enough to hit the entire habitable zone of a solar system with enough power to be detected for whoever is there, if there is something there hearing at the time it reaches.

Maybe there are out there civilizations so advanced that manage to do that, that went for thousands or millons of years trying to hit us in particular with a strong enough message, so if/when we decide to hear what is coming from there should finally hear them. But the odds of that seem to be pretty low.

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