Scientists suggest protocol for messaging to aliens

Feb 04, 2011 By Lisa Zyga feature
The Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. NAIC - Arecibo Observatory, a facility of the NSF

(PhysOrg.com) -- In 1974, humans broadcast the first message targeted at extraterrestrial life using the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. The message, which was aimed at the globular star cluster M13 located 25,000 light years away, consisted of binary digits that encoded information about our DNA, as well as graphics of a human, our Solar System, and the Arecibo telescope. Since then, humans have sent three other messages to nearby stars and planets (20-69 light-years away). These messages have become more complex and anthropocentric, with music, photographs, and drawings submitted by the public.

Now a team of scientists, Dimitra Atri from the University of Kansas, Julia DeMarines from the International Space University in France, and Jacob Haqq-Misra from Pennsylvania State University, has proposed that future attempts of messaging to (METI) should follow a standard protocol to maximize communication effectiveness. They think that some of the content of past METI broadcasts, which contain sights and sounds, would likely go unnoticed by extraterrestrials who do not have visual or auditory perception (like some organisms on Earth). Instead, the researchers argue that short, simple messages with minimal anthropocentrism, and which rely on simple physical or mathematical language, have the best chance of success.

In their study, which will be published in a future issue of Space Policy, the researchers say that a METI protocol should provide constraints and guidelines for factors such as signal encoding, message length, information content, anthropocentrism, transmission method, and transmission periodicity. Currently, there are three antennas that have the capability of transmitting messages to anywhere in our galaxy; these telescopes are located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico; Goldstone, California, US; and Evpatoria, Crimea, Ukraine.

The researchers acknowledge the argument of some critics that broadcasting our presence to extraterrestrials is a security risk, since an advanced civilization would likely possess the capability to destroy us. But they note that Earth has been emitting electromagnetic signals into space for nearly 100 years due to the unintended leakage from TVs, telecommunications, and aviation. As the researchers explain, any civilization capable of radio transmission that lies within a radius of 100 light-years could detect our TV and radio, and would already know we’re here.

The scientists also emphasize that searching for and attempting to communicate with extraterrestrials is as much about understanding ourselves as it is about finding . Once a protocol is developed, the researchers hope to test it in different human cultures throughout the world in order to minimize cultural bias and make the message as universal as possible. The researchers also plan to create an interactive website at which users can create, send, and decrypt messages to each other that follow the protocol. The researchers explain that, even if most of these messages are never sent into space, they will still allow people from different cultures to better appreciate our human diversity.

“In the next few weeks, we will be collaborating with mathematicians and radio astronomers to come up with both the content and mode of communication of the message,” Atri said. “As suggested in the paper, it will not be anthropocentric like previous attempts. Once our collaboration comes up with a protocol, we will create an interactive website to test it globally. Anyone with internet access will be able to suggest his/her own message within the protocol guidelines based on scientific principles. We are also open to suggestions from both the scientific community and the general public for improvements in the protocol. It will be a community effort.”

Explore further: Obama salutes 45th anniversary of US astronauts' Moon landing

More information: Dimitra Atri, Julia DeMarines, and Jacob Haqq-Misra. “A Protocol for Messaging to Extraterrestrial Intelligence.” arXiv:1101.4968v2 [physics.pop-ph] arxiv.org/abs/1101.4968

4.3 /5 (43 votes)

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Arkaleus
1.9 / 5 (41) Feb 04, 2011
We are a planet ruled by an oligarchy who use math to deceive and destroy life. I think it would be better for us to hide our existence from anything cosmic until that changes.

Our habits would be offensive to any species that has survived long enough to talk to us, perhaps enough to warrant aggression or at least this continued ostracism.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.3 / 5 (18) Feb 04, 2011
The message, which was aimed at the globular star cluster M13 located 25,000 light years away, consisted of binary digits that encoded information about our DNA, as well as graphics of a human, our Solar System, and the Arecibo telescope.
And considering how long it will take the message to get there, all the information within will be completely out of date and useless by the time it arrives.
LivaN
3.3 / 5 (26) Feb 04, 2011

use math to deceive and destroy life.

Completely irational. Without math there is no real point to our existance, unless simply existing is enough for you.


I think it would be better for us to hide our existence from anything cosmic

untill we're strong enough to defend ourselves.


Our habits would be offensive to any species that has survived long enough to talk to us

Because they obviously don't have any "skeletons" in their past? Think about it. Natural selection. Survival of the fitest. What did they do to survive? What did they do that made them the fittest? Did they simply exist as enlightend beings? No, they probably progressed similarly to ourselves. Come on! Give it some thought before posting.
FrankHerbert
1.7 / 5 (76) Feb 04, 2011
We are a planet ruled by an oligarchy who use math to deceive and destroy life. I think it would be better for us to hide our existence from anything cosmic until that changes.

Our habits would be offensive to any species that has survived long enough to talk to us, perhaps enough to warrant aggression or at least this continued ostracism.


wtf is this? go away.
Rdavid
4.7 / 5 (20) Feb 04, 2011
More important, when we receive a response, we would do what?
Mesafina
4.6 / 5 (21) Feb 04, 2011
Arkaleus good job, you win the Ignorant Post of the Day award!

"an oligarchy who use math to deceive"? In what way is math used to deceive? Math is a purely logical language, and anyone can spot a 'lie' in math who is literate in it. 2+2=5 doesn't equate no matter how you try and write it. Mathematics is about the most easily peer reviewed field in science. Either your math works or it doesn't.

Maybe it's your loud ignorance that would offend any cosmic visitors. Best not talk too much when they arrive.
LariAnn
3.3 / 5 (11) Feb 04, 2011
IMHO, all messaging attempts should be limited to very local star systems due to the perishable nature of information we might send. What I mean is that we should beam messages to star systems no more than 20 light years away. Our societies won't change so much in 20 years that they would be unrecognizable to aliens with FTL stardrives when they arrive to check us out.
Quantum_Conundrum
4.7 / 5 (15) Feb 04, 2011
This is pretty straight forward that any "first contact" involves teaching one another your language. A signal should therefore start with a sufficiently large sequence of counting numbers to teach the numerical language. Followed by primes and squares and fibonaccis. This part of the sequence needs to be so obvious that anyone can understand it as being the opening of a contact message. It is a universal way of saying, "I'm an intelligent message meant to be understood. You should try to translate me."

If we received a sequence of counting numbers or prime numbers or square numbers from space, it would surely be a contact signal, whether or not we could actually decypher the contents of the following (or preceding) message.

However, many, even most, words and phrases will have no equivalents. An alien wont know what a "dog" or "cat" is. They may not even use a phonetic language, but rather heiroglyphs, etc. Heck, they may not even have speech, but some sort of sign language only
Quantum_Conundrum
3.7 / 5 (7) Feb 04, 2011
Once you get past the "greeting," which is a pure sequence of counting numbers, or whatever, then you'd need to move on to the business of "somehow" conveying the difference between binary variables that represent "numbers" from those which represent "characters" or some other information.

Once this problem is solved, you can then set about to teach the characters, words, grammar, and syntax of your language to one another.

Anyone with radio and listening and smart enough to pick up the "greeting" will be smart enough to apply cryptography and understand what is going on. How much information they can glean and convert to their own language would remain to be seen. The body of the message should stick to things easy to be understood, such as star charts, simple greetings, "We mean you no harm. Let's trade technology and work together." Whatever.
antialias
3.8 / 5 (13) Feb 04, 2011
Don't worry. By the time the signal gets 2 light years out it will be so weak that not even theoretical amplifiers could pick it up.

It's a PR stunt. In 25000 years we will certainly either be extinct or have left this rock far behind.
Quantum_Conundrum
4.4 / 5 (7) Feb 04, 2011
Don't worry. By the time the signal gets 2 light years out it will be so weak that not even theoretical amplifiers could pick it up.


This is also true, which is why any galactic civilization would need relay stations to relay communications between star systems, as we have previously discussed.
mrlewish
3.8 / 5 (13) Feb 04, 2011
Wouldn't it be funny if 25,000 years from now we had colonies there and received our own signal. Would be even remember that we sent it?
Skeptic_Heretic
3.6 / 5 (12) Feb 04, 2011
Don't worry. By the time the signal gets 2 light years out it will be so weak that not even theoretical amplifiers could pick it up.


This is also true, which is why any galactic civilization would need relay stations to relay communications between star systems, as we have previously discussed.

I'd assume in the majority of scenarios a galactic civilization would have conquered this issue through means as yet unknown to us, maybe some form of entanglement or E-R bridges. Otherwise they would very naturally not be a galactic civilization as much as a radial expansion and diversification of individual civilizations unable to communicate. That is unless their individual life spans were incomprehensibly long.

The Federation of Star Trek fame may be nothing more than a sort of lame gopher version of the internet.
Quantum_Conundrum
3.7 / 5 (14) Feb 04, 2011
Wouldn't it be funny if 25,000 years from now we had colonies there and received our own signal. Would be even remember that we sent it?


...

How, pray tell, do you plan on having a colony there before the light speed radio signal arrives?

Do you have a warp drive blueprint we should know about?
Arkaleus
3.1 / 5 (27) Feb 04, 2011
Forgive my unworthy comments. Obviously you are much more cosmically aware and evolved, and have a fuller grasp on our planetary social order. I deserve to be mocked for my rude and insensitive comments.

Our world is obviously run by enlightened and beneficent groups of kind, elderly gentlemen. They use banking and militaries to raise puppies and daffodils while trying to find the extent of Pi. The economic math used to generate an excess of fine consumer goods creates the best of all possible human conditions, and should be repeated forever as we venture out into the cosmos.

Perhaps we can apply our wonderful system of political and economic perfection to the great cosmos! Surely we will expect the other, more elder civilizations to reach out to us in awe of our glorious perfection! Perhaps they too will want to buy our merchandise and watch our syndicated television?
LuckyBrandon
4.2 / 5 (14) Feb 04, 2011
More important, when we receive a response, we would do what?

why, we would send a bomb of course....then set forth to conquer...its what we do best :P
Arkaleus
3.5 / 5 (16) Feb 04, 2011
Lucky, I think you understand the meaning of my sarcasm.

We are not ready to be presented to cosmic adult society. We are a filthy, shabby, childish race that retains more than a little bit of our animal precursor.

If we were to bring our current "Business Model" into the cosmos, we would probably find ourselves annihilated by elder races who've been working the garden worlds of the galaxy. We would be viewed as parasites or predators, and would be treated to the principals of good gardening everywhere.
danman5000
2.7 / 5 (11) Feb 04, 2011
Wouldn't it be funny if 25,000 years from now we had colonies there and received our own signal. Would be even remember that we sent it?


...

How, pray tell, do you plan on having a colony there before the light speed radio signal arrives?

Do you have a warp drive blueprint we should know about?


How do you know what sort of technology we'll have in 25,000 years? Warp drive could be invented tomorrow.

Do you have a time machine we should know about?
DoubleD
3.1 / 5 (9) Feb 04, 2011
Wouldn't it be funny if 25,000 years from now we had colonies there and received our own signal. Would be even remember that we sent it?


...

How, pray tell, do you plan on having a colony there before the light speed radio signal arrives?

Do you have a warp drive blueprint we should know about?


No, but in 25Ky we will most likely either be gone or have FTL travel.
Paljor
5 / 5 (2) Feb 04, 2011
so your a furtune teller.
Skepticus
3.3 / 5 (12) Feb 04, 2011
I'd always considered deliberate beaming to ET is a bad idea and bad manners. It is equivalent to being in an unkown neighborhood having a megaphone yelling your head off and see who yells back. Most will ignore, some will yell "shut the F up, i am trying to have some quiet here!", some psychos will get violent if they have their hands on you. Considering the bilions of stars out there, someone will exist somewhere. What matters is what one can offer another. I doubt that human's history will impress the peaceful, nor interest warlike ones. Our achievements so far won't be of value to the advanced ones and I truly doubt that they will give advanced knowledge away considering risks and impact. Cultural exchanges maybe fascinating but only for specialized scholars. The odds of finding a friendly, generous and non-judgmental ET on our level to exchange scientific knowledge for mutual advancement is vanishingly small. We should be quiet and keep our heads down for now.
SmartK8
4.6 / 5 (10) Feb 04, 2011
What if they are radically different. Like what if they excrete radio-waves. In that case they may consider it rude anyway. I hope our signal won't hit the invasion army general in the face in the morning.
PS3
2 / 5 (4) Feb 04, 2011
They think that some of the content of past METI broadcasts, which contain sights and sounds, would likely go unnoticed by extraterrestrials who do not have visual or auditory perception (like some organisms on Earth).

---
The researchers acknowledge the argument of some critics that broadcasting our presence to extraterrestrials is a security risk, since an advanced civilization would likely possess the capability to destroy us. But they note that Earth has been emitting electromagnetic signals into space for nearly 100 years due to the unintended leakage from TVs, telecommunications, and aviation. As the researchers explain, any civilization capable of radio transmission that lies within a radius of 100 light-years could detect our TV and radio, and would already know we’re here.

LOL

PS3
1 / 5 (3) Feb 04, 2011
''They think that some of the content of past METI broadcasts, which contain sights and sounds, would likely go unnoticed by extraterrestrials who do not have visual or auditory perception (like some organisms on Earth)''

''The researchers acknowledge the argument of some critics that broadcasting our presence to extraterrestrials is a security risk, since an advanced civilization would likely possess the capability to destroy us. But they note that Earth has been emitting electromagnetic signals into space for nearly 100 years due to the unintended leakage from TVs, telecommunications, and aviation. As the researchers explain, any civilization capable of radio transmission that lies within a radius of 100 light-years could detect our TV and radio, and would already know we’re here.''

LOL
PS3
1 / 5 (2) Feb 04, 2011
.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.3 / 5 (13) Feb 04, 2011
What if they are radically different. Like what if they excrete radio-waves. In that case they may consider it rude anyway. I hope our signal won't hit the invasion army general in the face in the morning.

If they excrete radiowaves, they're swimming in a sea of shit in this Universe.

Think more in terms of yourself. What do you do when the buzzing of a fly keeps you up at night, or annoys you?

I go find it and end the annoyance, through whatever means are handy.
TehDog
4.1 / 5 (9) Feb 04, 2011
Think more in terms of yourself. What do you do when the buzzing of a fly keeps you up at night, or annoys you?

I go find it and end the annoyance, through whatever means are handy..

I had a sudden vision of a giant flyswatter descending on the solar system...
Moebius
3.3 / 5 (7) Feb 04, 2011
I have a better protocol:

Don't ask, don't tell.

If you were a primitive society, would you want us to contact you? And for those about to rate this a one, tell it to the tribes in the amazon, the ones that are left that is.
Chef
4 / 5 (5) Feb 04, 2011
The time frame of using radio waves is limited. Yeah we've been using them for over a hundred years, but we can already look ahead to other possibilities, ie entanglement. The radio communique that we sent was in a relative quiet band in the radio spectrum that we don't use ourselves for ordinary use, so who's to say anyone would be listening in that band, or even be listening during that brief time it was transmitted. We are an immature/insignificant race that can't even get along with itself. Would they even care that we are here? Maybe it'll be like in Hitchhiking Guide to the Universe, and Earth will be just in the way of some galactic highway. Boom, you're dead, and thank you for the fish.
jselin
3.3 / 5 (9) Feb 04, 2011
"All your base are belong to us"
Quantum_Conundrum
5 / 5 (1) Feb 04, 2011
What happens when first contact goes bad...

youtube.com/watch?v=rgyL08nhtkw
HealingMindN
3.1 / 5 (7) Feb 04, 2011
Maybe, if human society advances spiritually as well as technologically, the ETs would be willing to show themselves.
SoulmanOtto
4 / 5 (16) Feb 04, 2011
Our habits would be offensive to any species that has survived long enough to talk to us, perhaps enough to warrant aggression or at least this continued ostracism.
Naw just those of misanthropes like you.
untill we're strong enough to defend ourselves.
Naw misanthropes like this guy would want us to roll over and die when they get here. Goodlife.

I think we say to aliens 'Send lawyers guns and money, hey!' like Warren Zevon.
Quantum_Conundrum
3 / 5 (1) Feb 04, 2011
youtube.com/watch?v=XQa8co522zc&feature=relmfu
SoulmanOtto
4.1 / 5 (17) Feb 04, 2011
Maybe, if human society advances spiritually as well as technologically, the ETs would be willing to show themselves.
I think any species we may meet would probably have cured itself of any spiritual delusions and dysfunctions, as we ourselves will one day.
Skultch
4 / 5 (5) Feb 04, 2011
I get that alerting an already conquering alien species is risky. I can't imagine an alien civilization that is capable of doing anything to us would also be incapable or unwilling to understand our evolutionary youth. If they care is another thing. I'm just saying, I don't see how EM is "annoying" or inherently dangerous.

Also, wouldn't an alien species of this hypothetical capability learn about us before doing anything to us? IOW, isn't observation and analysis, before action, a prerequisite for intelligence? If so, this suggests that we have time to react (if we detect their EM/advanced tech probing for info) and/or they would be understanding of our adolescence.

We have resources; are they rare? I don't know yet, so I don't know if we are worth any attention at all beyond mere curiosity.

Just throwing half-baked ideas out there.
Telekinetic
2.3 / 5 (15) Feb 04, 2011
Extraterrestrials have appeared right here on Terra Mater for centuries. I've seen a classic silver cigar-shaped, silent, wingless, tail assembly-less craft clearly at a 500 ft. altitude, moving in a perfectly straight trajectory. It was not a dirigible, and someone else saw it as well. What the real effort should be is to use the freedom of information act to get our government to open the the reams of documents it has to the public. We promise not to take to the streets in panic, a la War of The Worlds.
Skultch
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 04, 2011
Sweet! Another conspiracy theory thread is brewing..... :)
Telekinetic
2.6 / 5 (15) Feb 04, 2011
'I believe that the security services of both the United States and the United Kingdom have attempted – both then and now – to subvert the significance of what occurred at RAF Bentwaters by the use of well-practised methods of disinformation."
The six former U.S. Air Force officers and one former enlisted man, are to present declassified information which they claim backs up their findings. They have witness testimony from 120 former or retired military personnel which points to alien intervention at nuclear sites in the U.S. as recently as 2003.
They will urge the authorities to confirm that alien beings have long been visiting Earth.
For your enjoyment, Skultch.
Moebius
3.3 / 5 (8) Feb 04, 2011
Bentwaters is hard to explain. The witnesses are credible, their stories are consistent and describe nothing we had then or now.
DamienS
5 / 5 (8) Feb 04, 2011
I get that alerting an already conquering alien species is risky.

I don't see why it would be risky. Why would an alien species that is so advanced wish to 'conquer' us? For our wimmen? :-)
We have resources; are they rare?

Not in the least. I still remember some old 'graphic novels' where Earth is invaded four our oceans, as if our water is somehow unique. A species capable of routine interstellar flight would have access to all the resources it needed, even within their own solar system.
I don't know if we are worth any attention at all beyond mere curiosity.

I'd certainly put that as a primary reason for contact - intellectual curiosity.
Newbeak
2.6 / 5 (7) Feb 04, 2011
Considering that solar systems and their planets form over vastly different time-lines ,there will be two types of civilizations out there,assuming they exist at all: some will be hundreds of thousands or even millions of years ahead of us technologically,and the others will be still living in caves,or their equivalent of trees.There is no evidence evolution selects for intelligence beyond what enables a species to maintain it's niche in the environment.Our rise from apes to human was probably a fluke,not to be easily repeated,otherwise isolated environments like Australia,for example,would have seen the independent rise of a tool using hominid like the ones in Africa that lead to us.It is not inconceivable that we are alone in the universe.
DamienS
4.2 / 5 (10) Feb 04, 2011
Our rise from apes to human was probably a fluke,not to be easily repeated,otherwise isolated environments like Australia,for example,would have seen the independent rise of a tool using hominid like the ones in Africa that lead to us.

I agree, but also wish to add that Australian aborigines are descendants of tool using humans from Africa, and yet they didn't develop a technological civilization for the duration of their 40-60k years in Australia.

This is probably because they live a nomadic lifestyle and/or in small familial groups. So even though they had the smarts to build techie stuff, they chose to live simply, off the land. Intelligence alone doesn't guarantee high-tech.
Quantum_Conundrum
3.5 / 5 (4) Feb 04, 2011
I still remember some old 'graphic novels' where Earth is invaded four our oceans, as if our water is somehow unique.


the series "V" was one such series.

It's not that the water is "unique". It's that fusion power requires hydrogen, and eventually an advanced civilization would use up all the hydrogen in their own solar system.

Even if they had Dyson Spheres and only used the hydrogen for nuclear rocketry, they'd eventually run out and would need more water.

Of course, "V" was made before the Voyagers reached Jupiter and Saturn. In one episode they actually destroy Europa while test firing a super weapon, as the authors of the show didn't realize Europa is almost pure water...which in hindsight was comical watching, as there is more water on Europa than earth...The authors just didn't know at the time.

Anyway, "eventually," even a type 2 civilization would run out of hydrogen after using it for fusion and propellant long enough...
Quantum_Conundrum
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 04, 2011
This is probably because they live a nomadic lifestyle and/or in small familial groups. So even though they had the smarts to build techie stuff, they chose to live simply, off the land. Intelligence alone doesn't guarantee high-tech.


Without "writing" or something equivalent, it's simply not possible to preserve knowledge and technology and coordinate a civilization with any decent degree.
DamienS
5 / 5 (2) Feb 04, 2011
This is probably because they live a nomadic lifestyle and/or in small familial groups. So even though they had the smarts to build techie stuff, they chose to live simply, off the land. Intelligence alone doesn't guarantee high-tech

Without "writing" or something equivalent, it's simply not possible to preserve knowledge and technology and coordinate a civilization with any decent degree

True, but that still revolves around lifestyle. There is no need to accurately record knowledge for posterity if you live in small, isolated communities or lead a nomadic lifestyle. The Aborigines did have a method of preserving information that mattered to them through song, verbal storytelling and art.

You would only need a more accurate and sophisticated system, such as writing and number systems, when large numbers of individuals live together in fixed locations, to aid in things like commerce/accounting. This would then have a positive feedback leading to further social development
Telekinetic
2.2 / 5 (10) Feb 04, 2011
The story of Australia's Aboriginal people is rife with incredible tragedy and torment at the hands of the white settlers. Their children were kidnapped from them, subjected to discrimination, and forced to live in dire poverty. Despite this misery, the level of communication and connection they've achieved with nature including inexplicable phenomena surpasses our own in many respects despite our technological "prowess". Technology for its own sake is not necessarily a measure of superiority of human endeavor.
Moebius
2.9 / 5 (9) Feb 04, 2011
I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the idea that an alien species might want our resources. Sure everything is plentiful in the universe but it is spread very thinly. They might have an aversion to the work required to concentrate those resources. And as I've said, we are busy little bee's concentrating all that stuff on the surface of this planet, much easier pickings than dirty old mining.

Take gold for example. We have been digging it out of the ground for thousands of years and still have almost all of it. If you put it all in one pile it just makes a cube roughly 50 yds on a side. Just finding a planet where there is gold and where it can be retrieved might not be so easy even for a race with interstellar travel and gold would be as valuable to them as it is to us. Also, who is to say that just because they have the capability of interstellar travel it's easy to do and not resource intensive? Just saying you can't dismiss ideas without knowing all the facts and we don't.
Nartoon
1 / 5 (1) Feb 04, 2011
Just send Pi in code and pray the 20 years it takes to get there that they don't develop warp drives.
DamienS
5 / 5 (4) Feb 05, 2011
They might have an aversion to the work required to concentrate those resources

I'm sure they would have figured out ways to create labor saving technologies, given their stellar accomplishments.
gold would be as valuable to them as it is to us.

Why do you say that?
who is to say that just because they have the capability of interstellar travel it's easy to do and not resource intensive?

It precisely because they do have this capability that they would have a mastery of technology and resources. Remember, we're assuming it is easy for them to travel between stars in order for them to be a threat to us.
Just saying you can't dismiss ideas without knowing all the facts and we don't.

Absolutely correct, however in the absence of perfect (or any) knowledge, you have to stick with what seems more plausible, at least in my opinion.
antialias
4.5 / 5 (4) Feb 05, 2011
I'd assume in the majority of scenarios a galactic civilization would have conquered this issue through means as yet unknown to us,

Barring some breakthrough into superluminal physics: A civilization of that rank will certainly have solved the energy issue.

With enough energy you could send message pods at near light speed which would be only marginally slower than an EM signal (and perfevtly secure from eavesdropping short of physical interception). Over such distances 1% more or less transmission time means nothing. It isn't like you'd be sending a message that, if it takes 25250 years instead of 25000 years would be sufficiently more out of date to suddenly be useless whereas the 25000 year signal would be something you could react to in some way immediately.
antialias
5 / 5 (7) Feb 05, 2011
I'd certainly put that as a primary reason for contact - intellectual curiosity.

If they are curious then they'll just watch - not contact. We don't try to contact apes, birds or amoeba, do we? We hide and watch so as not to distub their natural behavior.

There's really nothing an advanced civilization could gain from making overt contact with us. No knowledge of ours would be useful to them, no resources. There is no thinkable interaction in which we could give anything to them that they couldn't also get by just observing.
Mayday
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 05, 2011
Help me understand. If the Europeans had somehow sent a message to the Native Americans, say 800 years ago, or vis-a-versa -- what good would it have done? By my thinking, it would only have sped up the ultimate conclusion, which has never been pretty for the less technologically advanced society.
Mayday
4.2 / 5 (6) Feb 05, 2011
We might be better off to use our "technologies" to find ways to send effective messages to our own kind right here on Earth telling each other that it is better for all to respect each other's rights, to respect life and to seek to live in cooperation and in peace. We have all this great communications technology and understanding of behavior, history and psychology -- so what do we want to do with it?? Aim it at the stars. Go figure.
PS3
2 / 5 (3) Feb 05, 2011
I don't see why it would be risky. Why would an alien species that is so advanced wish to 'conquer' us? For our wimmen? :-)

They could not have a home because of nova and have been searching for new.
thingumbobesquire
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 05, 2011
The oligarchy does indeed exist, but it is not in control of mathematics... It is a network of "royal" families and their banks which control global finance called Inter Alpha. Their control of international finance is self destructive. We don't require an alien race to destroy humanity, the practice of governments being ruled by lunatic financial speculation is doing that...The development of technology that uplifts the condition of humanity is the bane of this system of monetarism, and so the families centered in London do everything in their power to bottle it up, including defunding the space program and shutting down nuclear power. They create bogus "science" like global warming and China Syndrome hoaxes to attempt to brake progress. Most of the populace are oblivious of this and engrossed lemming-like in modern day bread and circuses...

Sinister181
1 / 5 (1) Feb 05, 2011
I don't see why it would be risky. Why would an alien species that is so advanced wish to 'conquer' us? For our wimmen? :-)

They could not have a home because of nova and have been searching for new.


So they'd come all the way across the universe to a planet that they [more than likely] wouldn't be biologically adapted to. Makes sense. Not to mention being one of the smallest planets in the universe.
Quantum_Conundrum
3.5 / 5 (6) Feb 05, 2011

So they'd come all the way across the universe to a planet that they [more than likely] wouldn't be biologically adapted to. Makes sense. Not to mention being one of the smallest planets in the universe.


You're kinda ridiculous. If they are a carbon based life form, earth is practically perfect home for them.

The term "habitable zone" exists for a reason, because it denotes the upper and lower limits for chemistry which supports anything remotely like the life we know.

any life form that we would even recognize as such would be well equipped to live on the earth, somewhere, as we have every temperature extreme from sub-freezing(poles) to boiling(geothermal vents).

On the other hand, the majority of planets discovered so far are molten balls of metal or metal vapor, orbiting closer than Venus to their star. The remnant are almost all "hot jupiters". For the majority of these, no chemistry is even possible at all.
tkjtkj
5 / 5 (2) Feb 05, 2011
Forgive my unworthy comments. Obviously you are much more cosmically aware and evolved, and have a fuller grasp on our planetary social order. ... ... Perhaps they too will want to buy our merchandise and watch our syndicated television?


haha ..GOOD one!
_ilbud
2.5 / 5 (6) Feb 05, 2011
How about the laws of physics boys and girls, the speed of light, entropy and all that. Multi generation craft only last a certain number of generations and could only reach a tiny % of c. It's science fiction nonsense and that's that.
Chef
1.8 / 5 (6) Feb 05, 2011
The only reason I would see an alien civilization to visit here would be to take it over due to Earth being a garden world. I suspect they wouldn't contact us, they would just show up and push us into small habitable areas for pity sake (like the settlers did to the Native Americans) as we would be unable to stop them. Probably our only defense would be of the natural viruses and bacterium that we have adapted to that would be fatal to them.
Noumenon
4.3 / 5 (57) Feb 05, 2011
What if they received broadcasts of Nancy Pelocy, Joe Biden, and Al Gore,... oh my, how embarrassing!
eurekalogic
4.7 / 5 (9) Feb 05, 2011
I dont believe in friendly ETs , I think we are going to be horror story to other aliens some day as well. It wouldnt be surprized if there was sign just past the last belt of planetoids that said "Beware monkeys with shotguns!"
antialias
4.2 / 5 (9) Feb 05, 2011
due to Earth being a garden world.

Very unlikely. Gravity could be wrong. Radiation levels could be wrong. Earth chemistry could be wrong. Water chemistry (e.g. pH) could be wrong. Temperature range could be wrong. Atmsophere chemistry could be wrong (remember that our atmosphere is not 'natural' for a planet of our type but vastly reconfigured by billions of years of bacteria spewing out waste product (oxygen)).

So I think it's EXTREMELY unlikely that any other species would not find some system-wide poisonous component to them on earth (more likely many). And if they are that good at traversing interstellar space - why would they even WANT to live on a planet?
Telekinetic
2.1 / 5 (11) Feb 05, 2011
I suggest that we humans have been monitored for a very long time by our intergalactic shepherds, interfering only when we are poised to annihilate our own race. It's possible that we're part of an ongoing genetic experiment, or something akin to assisting the primitives that one would happen upon in a remote part of the world.
Noumenon
4.5 / 5 (53) Feb 05, 2011
Once a protocol is developed, the researchers hope to test it in different human cultures throughout the world in order to minimize cultural bias and make the message as universal as possible.


Does anyone else find this incredibly pc and stupid,... THERE SENDING MESSAGES TO ALIENS!!!,.. who cares about diversity!
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (30) Feb 05, 2011
Once a protocol is developed, the researchers hope to test it in different human cultures throughout the world in order to minimize cultural bias and make the message as universal as possible.


Does anyone else find this incredibly pc and stupid,...
yeah, I do.
If they are curious then they'll just watch - not contact. We don't try to contact apes, birds or amoeba, do we? We hide and watch so as not to distub their natural behavior.
Nonsense. We put them in cages and breed them for genetic predisposition and vivisect them. But only a relatively small number of them. Some we keep in the parlor so that their tweeting reminds us of spring. Sometimes we even put them in microwave ovens- as an experiment you know.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.9 / 5 (27) Feb 05, 2011
Extraterrestrials have appeared right here on Terra Mater for centuries. I've seen a classic silver cigar-shaped, silent, wingless, tail assembly-less craft clearly at a 500 ft. altitude, moving in a perfectly straight trajectory.
Perhaps it was a scratch on your eyeball.
It was not a dirigible, and someone else saw it as well.
Perhaps his eyeball was scratched as well.
What the real effort should be is to use the freedom of information act to get our government to open the the reams of documents it has to the public. We promise not to take to the streets in panic, a la War of The Worlds.
There would never be documentation on the things you are truly not supposed to know anything about. You can count on that.
sorg
5 / 5 (2) Feb 05, 2011
lonliness and the stuggle of an intelligent race to remain sane in an infinite universe should be ovious commonalities to start a discussion with.
FrankHerbert
1 / 5 (52) Feb 05, 2011
The only reason I would see an alien civilization to visit here would be to take it over due to Earth being a garden world. I suspect they wouldn't contact us, they would just show up and push us into small habitable areas for pity sake (like the settlers did to the Native Americans) as we would be unable to stop them. Probably our only defense would be of the natural viruses and bacterium that we have adapted to that would be fatal to them.


lmao you have absolutely no understanding of astrobiology
Bog_Mire
3.1 / 5 (7) Feb 05, 2011
What if they received broadcasts of Bush Snr & Bush Jnr or S.Palin? Oh my, how embarrassing AND dangerous.

I would guess they haven't though, because we are still here.
Quantum_Conundrum
2 / 5 (2) Feb 05, 2011
How about the laws of physics boys and girls, the speed of light, entropy and all that. Multi generation craft only last a certain number of generations and could only reach a tiny % of c. It's science fiction nonsense and that's that.


Hence the term "World Ship".

You'd build a fully contained environment on the surface of a dwarf planet in the outer solar system, and yes, but a gigantic fusion rocket engine on it. You use power from fusion for electrolysis of water, and use the hydrogen for more fusion for rocket power and life support for the biosphere. You use the helium by-products plus some of the oxygen as propellant.

This could get to somewhere between 0.1c and 0.01c, while easily having enough power, water, and oxygen for the life support for thousands of years, AND have enough fuel and propellant for braking on the other end, landing in a stable orbit in the habitable zone, colonizing another star...
Telekinetic
1 / 5 (8) Feb 05, 2011
Telekinetic: "Extraterrestrials have appeared right here on Terra Mater for centuries. I've seen a classic silver cigar-shaped, silent, wingless, tail assembly-less craft clearly at a 500 ft. altitude, moving in a perfectly straight trajectory." GhostofOtto1923:"Perhaps it was a scratch on your eyeball." Telekinetic:" It was not a dirigible, and someone else saw it as well." GhostofOtto1923: "Perhaps his eyeball was scratched as well."

Your daddy didn't have a twinkle in his eye, he had a scratch on HIS eyeball, which is how he explained having an idiot son.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (28) Feb 05, 2011
Telekinetic: "Extraterrestrials have appeared right here on Terra Mater for centuries. I've seen a classic silver cigar-shaped, silent, wingless, tail assembly-less craft clearly at a 500 ft. altitude, moving in a perfectly straight trajectory." GhostofOtto1923:"Perhaps it was a scratch on your eyeball." Telekinetic:" It was not a dirigible, and someone else saw it as well." GhostofOtto1923: "Perhaps his eyeball was scratched as well."

Your daddy didn't have a twinkle in his eye, he had a scratch on HIS eyeball, which is how he explained having an idiot son.
But then it is remotely possible. The scratch that is. We must leave no stone unturned in our search for reality. Perhaps it was a stone on your eyeball.
dan42day
3 / 5 (2) Feb 05, 2011
We prefer classic rock here on ZYlandrphyl, please transmit on the frequency 1,420,405,752 Hz, with Frequency Modulation, at 200 petawatts or higher. Thank you.
robotchicken
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 05, 2011
We cannot even talk to ourselves yet, why do you think we would have more luck with another planet?? This isn't Star Trek for crying out loud!! (it would be when they wipe us out afraid stupidity was contagious)
Telekinetic
1 / 5 (5) Feb 05, 2011
"But then it is remotely possible. The scratch that is. We must leave no stone unturned in our search for reality. Perhaps it was a stone on your eyeball."

At least I HAVE the stones, Ghost.
Skepticus
1 / 5 (1) Feb 06, 2011
The Commonwealth Saga of Peter F Hamilton should be a required reading for all the pro-beamers out there.
The gist of the story is an alien so alien that they consider there should be no life but their own is enough reason to go the extra [trillion]mile to wipe humanity out. Fantastic? certainly. Improbable? certainly not, albeit the chances are very small. But.., you'd never know, out of millions of potential ET races out there...
antialias
5 / 5 (2) Feb 06, 2011
Hamilton...puhleeeze. Never read such uninspired and boring SF. Might as well take Star Trek as reference for aliens. Would be about as 'realistic'
scout29c
not rated yet Feb 06, 2011
Write the message down on a piece of paper, put it in a bottle, and throw it into the sea makes as much sense as this endeavor. While the technology is ramped up significantly, the message is not.

The question I always have about intentional signals such as these and the unintentional ones such as TV is how far out do they have to go before they are to weak to be picked up by intelligence such as ours.

I assume this and our communication with satellites, both manned and unmanned, is way more stronger than commercial broadcast and would be measurable and thus receivable further out, but how far? Just asking.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Feb 06, 2011
The Commonwealth Saga of Peter F Hamilton should be a required reading for all the pro-beamers out there.
The gist of the story is an alien so alien that they consider there should be no life but their own is enough reason to go the extra [trillion]mile to wipe humanity out. Fantastic? certainly. Improbable? certainly not, albeit the chances are very small. But.., you'd never know, out of millions of potential ET races out there...

I prefered it when they were called Daleks and were on Dr. Who. Hamilton is a terrible writer, not one original concept and completely uninspired structure.
Bog_Mire
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 06, 2011
yep, Hamilton's writing is as boring as bat shit.

Now Kim Stanley Robinson, there is a Science Fiction Writer, who I personally hope will become a prophet.
Quantum_Conundrum
1 / 5 (1) Feb 06, 2011
I assume this and our communication with satellites, both manned and unmanned, is way more stronger than commercial broadcast and would be measurable and thus receivable further out, but how far? Just asking.


Signal is starting to have some degredation on the Voyagers.

New Horizons space craft is headed in another direction on a different "plane" so it will never "pass" them, but it moves faster so it will be farther away than them after a good while. I don't know, maybe 30 more years from now or so.

They'll probably get a few hundred a.u. out of the voyagers, as theya re already past 100a.u.

New Horizons is actually going to run out of power long before it reaches 200a.u., as it isn't as "over built" as the voyagers. In fact, for a while there was some question as to whether it will even have enough power to complete it's primary mission.

New Horizons probably won't set the record distance. There will be a voyager still ticking another 20 to 30 years from now.
Newbeak
not rated yet Feb 06, 2011
Our rise from apes to human was probably a fluke,not to be easily repeated,otherwise isolated environments like Australia,for example,would have seen the independent rise of a tool using hominid like the ones in Africa that lead to us.

I agree, but also wish to add that Australian aborigines are descendants of tool using humans from Africa, and yet they didn't develop a technological civilization for the duration of their 40-60k years in Australia.

This is probably because they live a nomadic lifestyle and/or in small familial groups. So even though they had the smarts to build techie stuff, they chose to live simply, off the land. Intelligence alone doesn't guarantee high-tech.

Yes,good point.The ascension to a tool-using civilization based on the scientific method requires another set of variables to be in place at the right time and place.Western European civilization broke new ground here technologically due to the right set of circumstances.
damnfuct
not rated yet Feb 06, 2011
You're kinda ridiculous. If they are a carbon based life form, earth is practically perfect home for them.

On the other hand, the majority of planets discovered so far are molten balls of metal or metal vapor, orbiting closer than Venus to their star. The remnant are almost all "hot jupiters". For the majority of these, no chemistry is even possible at all.


My only thought on this sort of issue is why a space-borne civilization that has probably found ways to exist in space indefinitely would want to maroon themselves on a primitive rock? Fly here, pick up what you need; dump this junk into a sun; mine asteroids for metals, etc. A bunch of matter is only one way to generate gravity (if you need it), and it's a pain to get away from or move.
Newbeak
not rated yet Feb 06, 2011
You're kinda ridiculous. If they are a carbon based life form, earth is practically perfect home for them.

On the other hand, the majority of planets discovered so far are molten balls of metal or metal vapor, orbiting closer than Venus to their star. The remnant are almost all "hot jupiters". For the majority of these, no chemistry is even possible at all.


My only thought on this sort of issue is why a space-borne civilization that has probably found ways to exist in space indefinitely would want to maroon themselves on a primitive rock? Fly here, pick up what you need; dump this junk into a sun; mine asteroids for metals, etc. A bunch of matter is only one way to generate gravity (if you need it), and it's a pain to get away from or move.

Ah yes..but feeling the sun on your face and the wind in your hair would be something I would miss.Getting out of a planet's gravity well would not be a challenge to a species capable of interstellar travel.
hush1
1 / 5 (1) Feb 06, 2011
There is no thinkable interaction...

:)

Once again.
For exact understanding, exact language is necessary.
(That understanding and language is not human.)

We evolve. (Or dissolve.[extinction])
Observation was mentioned.
No one will agree on a definition for observation.
No one will agree on a definition for interaction.

What ever happens, happens 'without' us for now.
Call it our "no thinkable" stage of a stage you call life (or death).

All humans have shortcomings.
I short change you. I am human.

ubavontuba
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 06, 2011
I don't see how this can be anything more than a scam to raise funds for these so-called scientists. It's not like we really have an ability to contact anyone. Any signal we send will likely be long lost in the background radio noise before it's received (unless they're already in, or very near, our own system).

Worse, even if they did receive a signal (well into the future) it'd take them at least as long to respond (supposing we could receive their reply). So essentially, nothing can be learned by this in any sort of reasonable time frame. We're much more likely to detect alien civilizations by advances in astronomy, than by receiving some sort of radio reply.

People should spend their money where the results are more certain.

pubwvj
not rated yet Feb 06, 2011
But do we really want to be noticed...?
Newbeak
not rated yet Feb 06, 2011
ubavontuba: While I believe basic research is always worthwhile,I have sympathy with your view of SETI research,which borders on faith alone.It has been suggested that it would be more profitable to look for other signs of intelligence besides radio transmissions.Look for things like von Neumann probes in the asteroid belt,for example. Having said that,maybe we are in fact the only intelligent beings in the universe.See : (physorg.com/news190541045.html)
nuge
5 / 5 (1) Feb 06, 2011
Scenario: Native Americans put a message in a bottle/basket describing their technology, day to day lives, and location with pictures. Maybe they put some weird numbers and a peculiar language on it or something, to. They then throw it into the sea, and 20 years later, it washes up in Spain. What happens?
Quantum_Conundrum
1 / 5 (4) Feb 06, 2011
Scenario: Native Americans put a message in a bottle/basket describing their technology, day to day lives, and location with pictures. Maybe they put some weird numbers and a peculiar language on it or something, to. They then throw it into the sea, and 20 years later, it washes up in Spain. What happens?


Most of the native American civilizations were too primitive to have writing or even pottery, so that could never happen...

The evidence suggests the south American civilization got their pottery from ancient Japanese settlers, and possibly traded this to the central American civilizations. The N. American (i.e. U.S.) had neither writing nor pottery nor calendars for most of their existence.

They lived in teepees or long houses with "no pythagorean theorem" and "counting numbers" being the limits of their mathematics, and they hunted or fished or gathered for a living.

They wouldn't know what a bottle or letter was if you gave it to them.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.2 / 5 (27) Feb 06, 2011
The N. American (i.e. U.S.) had neither writing nor pottery nor calendars for most of their existence... and they hunted or fished or gathered for a living.
Even more perplexing than your eagerness to display your ignorance, is your reluctance to do a little research before you spout. Puzzling.
http
://www.museumofnativeamericanartifacts.org/mississippian.html
hush1
5 / 5 (1) Feb 06, 2011
Ah yes! A delightful game! Hide and Seek.
And we are where? Right now? Physorg? And? Aliens and contact, you say? And I am to give everyone a hint?
With pleasure!

Find me first! (Before you send anything!)

:)
nuge
not rated yet Feb 06, 2011
Regardless, the actual capability of the American Indians was far from the point of my post.
ubavontuba
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 06, 2011
ubavontuba: While I believe basic research is always worthwhile,I have sympathy with your view of SETI research,which borders on faith alone.
Thank you.

For a lot of reasons, I'm a proponent of the "rare earth" hypothesis. And even more so, rare intelligence.

Seriously, had you a time machine and randomly chose any day to visit the earth in its past, what are the odds you'd find a technological civilization (rhetorical)? Vanishingly small - on a planet we KNOW a technological civilization exists!
It has been suggested that it would be more profitable to look for other signs of intelligence besides radio transmissions.Look for things like von Neumann probes in the asteroid belt,for example. Having said that,maybe we are in fact the only intelligent beings in the universe.See : (physorg.com/news190541045.html)
I don't even think Von Neumann probes are worth searching for. At least not until we've established life exists elsewhere.
Thex1138
not rated yet Feb 07, 2011
The basic premise is entirely being overlooked... the thinking and stratagem is also misunderstood... Radio waves will be far too dispersed unless the signal strength is very high... it would easily disperse into background radiation, or the wavelength too long require far deeper analysis... AKA Asking the wrong questions of deep space scanning of radio signals...
Second...
Thex1138
1 / 5 (2) Feb 07, 2011
If a civilization capable of traveling between stars or galaxies. My communications method would need to be faster and more powerful than the means of which I travel. I cannot detect a fibre optic signal if my only means of communication is via coax cable.
So here's a thought... Consider a civ' that can travel via worm holes. They understand and converse well with quantum physics. they send a quantum beacon, radio probe, whatever to wherever with a quantum entangled computing system on board. [paired entangled particles, one sent with the probe, the other remains at senders computer] Sent anywhere where the worm hole [or a jump system] can arrive. If quantum entanglement rules are persistent then I might imagine that interaction with the entangled particles for computing or communications purposes... would be instantaneous both ways...Theoretically.
antialias
not rated yet Feb 07, 2011
Native Americans put a message in a bottle/basket describing their technology, day to day lives, and location with pictures. Maybe they put some weird numbers and a peculiar language on it or something, to. They then throw it into the sea, and 20 years later, it washes up in Spain. What happens?


Real example: in the junfle near the Brazilian-Peruvian border an advanced civilization (us) detects an uncontacted native tribe.

(w)(w)(w).dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1022822/Incredible-pictures-Earths-uncontacted-tribes-firing-bows-arrows.html

What do WE do? Contact them? No. We send drone to watch (which is pretty darn stupid. should have sent something more high-flying that they wouldn't notice)

Now someone tell me that aliens wouldn't do the same (albeit a bit more subtly).
DamienS
4.3 / 5 (6) Feb 07, 2011
Consider a civ' that can travel via worm holes.

Wormholes are purely hypothetical and would probably never work, even if you could construct one. Wormholes are a 'cheat' to get around the FTL brick wall, but no theoretical wormhole proposal has ever (to my knowledge) demonstrated a solution to the causality paradox that is inherent in any type of FTL travel. There is a basic incompatibility between relativity, FTL and causality existing in the same universe.
nteraction with the entangled particles for computing or communications purposes... would be instantaneous both ways...Theoretically.

Not really, as information cannot be sent via entanglement. You need a STL data channel to xmit actual information.
rjsc2000
not rated yet Feb 07, 2011
The information sent should be a repeating message , so that whoever listens would know it's not static and should listen in that frequency. This would continue for a year or more, then we could change to something else, but it should always repeat itself for a certain period of time.
hush1
1 / 5 (1) Feb 07, 2011
The 'sign' of any reality does not lie in "repeatability"

"Repeatability" is entrenched in human reality.
That's a barrier to the adjective, the word:
unique. The noun to this adjective is what you seek.

Good luck with that.
PilotDave
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 07, 2011
"They" are already here, and "they" don't need us to concoct some bizarre language to communicate with them. One look at a map of UFO sightings will confirm that "they" are not extraterrestrials but rather live under the oceans and come up whenever they feel like checking up on what "we" are doing. They are terraformers, and they have been planting species on terra firma for eons, one species at a time. We may be the most advanced, but we may not be the last species they create and put here. That's who we will need to learn to communicate with, and it won't take the Arecibo telescope to do so.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Feb 07, 2011
There is a basic incompatibility between relativity, FTL and causality existing in the same universe
Only in a Universe where causality is linear. "Time isn't a line, it's a wibbly, wobbly timey, whimey bubble of stuff." - The Doctor
"They" are already here, and "they" don't need us to concoct some bizarre language to communicate with them. One look at a map of UFO sightings will confirm that "they" are not extraterrestrials but rather live under the oceans and come up whenever they feel like checking up on what "we" are doing.
Show me on the "Google Earth Doll" where the aliens touched your planet.
GSwift7
3 / 5 (2) Feb 07, 2011
I doubt that human's history will impress the peaceful, nor interest warlike ones. Our achievements so far won't be of value to the advanced ones and I truly doubt that they will give advanced knowledge away considering risks and impac


HA!! I bet they don't have Velcro or Post-it Notes. Maybe even a simple thing like a ball-point pen would be a novelty. You can never predict what one culture might gain from another when they mix. However, if you judge by our own experience, it's very dangerous for one of them when two different cultures meet for the first time. I think it will kill us (figuratively speaking) if we don't try to find other intelligent life out there, but I think it will kill us when we do (litterally speaking) if they are able to actually reach us physically.

With the direction our own species is headed in terms of life span, I think it's likely that our life span is short compared to anything more advanced than us. In that case, interstellar travel? maybe.
GSwift7
3 / 5 (4) Feb 07, 2011
Following my line of reasoning about how dangerous it is for one culture, it's usually the one on the receiving end of the first visit who loses. I think you could make a very strong argument for being the ones who venture out and make the trip first. Many of the above comments focus on the advanced aliens being reluctant to give us stuff. I think you could be equally concerned about what they might give us. We would probably be wise to limit how much stuff we take. Even if there's an offer of free knowledge, could our society handle too much too fast? Are we capable of keeping up with laws to maintain a viable society in the face of a radical change in technology? We're kinda outpacing ourselves right now, without any alien influence. Wow, the difference between the have and have-not would be really big. Imagine if the US made the first trade with the aliens and had control of the flow of trade. What power. Imagine the corruption potential.
Skultch
5 / 5 (3) Feb 07, 2011
Are we capable of keeping up with laws to maintain a viable society in the face of a radical change in technology?


Not yet; IMO, clearly. Maybe that's exactly the knowledge they would impart on us first. Kinda makes sense, since that is arguably our biggest need right now. One assumption, is that they learned on their own that it is a prerequisite to get past their technological progress plateau. Another, is that they had to leave their planet because they never did figure out how to not destroy it.
ettinone
not rated yet Feb 07, 2011
It seems like the odds are very remote to contact an alien civilization, at approximately the same technological level, that shares a common interest in communicating with us.

A more advanced culture might study us but would be less likely to engage in a dialogue or share information with us simply because we would probably be to 'boring' or something of the like. A human observing an ant colony might take a limited interest just as an alien species might observe us and take a limited interest... and then fly away to something much more interesting.

Not saying it isn't possible... it very well could be but in order to gain their attention we have to have something to offer or to interest a visiting alien species.

Obviously these questions more than likely won't be answered anytime soon. Just as Kepler is helping to determine the quantity of potential habitable planets eventually we need a study to determine the quantity of intelligent alien species.

So many questions...
Zortec_of_the_Galactic_Empire
3.9 / 5 (7) Feb 08, 2011
Attention Puny Earthlings:

We thank you for the TV shows you have thoughtfully sent us. We were going to destroy Earth and turn it into a galactic filling station to service our war fleet, but we got hooked on "My Favorite Martian" and "Gilligan's Island." Our whole home planet tuned in every night and we laughed until our antennas shook!

Again we were going to vaporize Earth when those shows vanished from the airwaves--which the Galactic Overlord Himself regards as an insult.

However, lately we have started receiving "Mork and Mindy" and you have once again won a reprieve. Perhaps you can guess our location if we are only now receiving "Mork."

Let this serve as a warning: our galactic filling station construction crews have an minor repair station and drinking establishment on what you call Pluto, and should "Mork and Mindy" vanish from our home planet airwaves, they move in and up go the Galactic Gas signs.

Your choice!

Zortec
Local Director of Galactic Gas.
nuge
4 / 5 (1) Feb 08, 2011
Excuse me, Zortec: why would you put a galactic filling station so deep in the gravity well around Sol? Surely there is enough room in interstellar space for the station - not to mention, it would be cheaper there because little demoltion is required. I say little when really I mean "none".
I had hoped for ET possessing more intelligence than that; tell me you are not amongst the greatest of your kind, please.
Zortec_of_the_Galactic_Empire
3.7 / 5 (6) Feb 08, 2011
My Dear Nuge, You have your bureaucrats, we have our bureaucrats. Indeed we have over 50 million bureaucrats just at Galactic Gas's headquarters.

We have done business this way for about half a million years, who am I to suggest changing even where the trash cans are placed at our filling stations? To better answer your inquiry, the local stars near our filling stations are both a beacon and a power source. Home in on the star and there's the friendly Galactic Gas filling station, powered by energy from the star. Even a bureaucrat can therefore find our stations!

Yours,
Zortec
soulman
4.3 / 5 (6) Feb 08, 2011
Attention Puny Earthlings:

We thank you for the TV shows you have thoughtfully sent us. We were going to destroy Earth and turn it into a galactic filling station to service our war fleet, but we got hooked on "My Favorite Martian" and "Gilligan's Island." Our whole home planet tuned in every night and we laughed until our antennas shook!

You sir, are an impostor! You try to mislead us, but we know that you are really from Omicron Persei 8, and that you are really addicted to the TV show Single Female Lawyer, eh Lrrr?

Hahahahahhaha!
ArmyThinker
5 / 5 (1) Feb 08, 2011
What a good thread. Been reading physorg for a long time, finally registered to comment. Zortec, pleasure to meet you, just wait till you start receiving the A Team all will be well haha. So many good comments on this string (some bad apples). The only comment I wanted to make was I think it is safe to say we aren't alone in the universe, statistically and through the evidence the presence of other intelligences is out there. I think its exciting though we do run the risk of being annihilated if we are viewed as a threat. But we also must look at if they are intelligent enough to travel here as is stated by one of the previous posts shouldn't they be of elevated intelligence enough to be more civilized than just destroying us? Though I dont think they are under the ocean as someone else wrote I do feel they have already visited and are waiting. I for one look forward to the discovery of other intelligence or the first meeting, how exciting.
Skultch
1 / 5 (1) Feb 08, 2011
aaaaannnnnnnnndddd........Nerdiest.Thread.Ever....... :)
Paljor
5 / 5 (1) Feb 08, 2011
I liked it. it was calm and insightful
Zortec_of_the_Galactic_Empire
1 / 5 (3) Feb 09, 2011
Thanks Earthlings and ArmyThinker; we on Home Planet enjoy reading about those who doubt our existence.

It gives us much to laugh about, and we appreciate those who are open to the idea for you may observe more carefully and therefore discover what the sceptics would insist is a data error. If you rule out faster than light travel as impossible, for example, you will never develop it, and we would never gain you as customers at our convenient Galactic Gas filling stations.
ArmyThinker
1 / 5 (1) Feb 09, 2011
Hilarious, profound statement though (paraphrased)"If you rule something out as impossible you will never be able to achieve it, if your assumptions on its impossibility are incorrect."
Terrible_Bohr
not rated yet Feb 09, 2011
You sir, are an impostor! You try to mislead us, but we know that you are really from Omicron Persei 8, and that you are really addicted to the TV show Single Female Lawyer, eh Lrrr?

So what? It's a good show; she's always having lots of sex.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (24) Feb 09, 2011
Thanks Earthlings and ArmyThinker; we on Home Planet enjoy reading about those who doubt our existence.

It gives us much to laugh about, and we appreciate those who are open to the idea for you may observe more carefully and therefore discover what the sceptics would insist is a data error. If you rule out faster than light travel as impossible, for example, you will never develop it, and we would never gain you as customers at our convenient Galactic Gas filling stations.
Aha! Youre no alien. Aliens dont laugh- they say ack ack or nanu nanu instead. You should know that we know this, if you had viewed our documentaries.
Zortec_of_the_Galactic_Empire
1 / 5 (2) Feb 09, 2011
Aha! Youre no alien. Aliens dont laugh- they say ack ack or nanu nanu instead. You should know that we know this, if you had viewed our documentaries.


Hmmm (Yes, we say "hmmm" and we laugh). Let's see, 100% of my Galactic Gas annual bonus comes from opening new filling stations. Your Earth has been on our planning books for centuries as a prime location and your whole planetary system is zoned Industrial/No Permit Needed; and but for special dispensation by the Galactic Overlord Himself due to the funny TV shows you beam our way, would have already been paved over for a shiny new filling station, and my bank account would have benefitted greatly.

What thanks do I get from Earthlings? I detect ridicule; grovel at least a little and beg for mercy or I may report to the Galactic Overlord Himself that his favored TV show, "Mork and Mindy" is going off the air to be replaced by drivel and trash. He Himself will then order your vaporization, and I'll get my bonus! Ha!

Zortec
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.8 / 5 (26) Feb 09, 2011
Ack ack (bite me little person)
http
://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPMmC0UAnj0

Attempt it and we will beam only slim whitman music your way
http
://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXULwgzezUg
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.8 / 5 (25) Feb 09, 2011
ALSO
We have fuel which will put your little company out of business. We will make YOUR planet a pit stop and convenience store. Obacht.
http
://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrgq52Uc3YE&feature=related
ScientistAmauterEnthusiast
2 / 5 (1) Feb 10, 2011
According to some of the worst films we have, a water gun will easily kill invading aliens :]
Bog_Mire
3 / 5 (2) Feb 10, 2011
...and welcome to nerdville. Population: 3
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.8 / 5 (26) Feb 10, 2011
Yes. And so the alien flees. Great civilizations have gone into decline when faced with Bundy underwear.
http
://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iRH-zVcOmE

Ackackackackackackackackackackackackackackack (ROFL) Ack.
Paljor
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 10, 2011
Now population 4.
Walfy
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 12, 2011
An alien race would feel embarrassed for us, considering most of the comments on this article.
Zortec_of_the_Galactic_Empire
2 / 5 (4) Feb 13, 2011
An alien race would feel embarrassed for us, considering most of the comments on this article.

Indeed, I sincerely hope the comments are not typical of Earthlings, or we'll be tempted to just vaporize the joint. Galactic Gas has held the title to Earth too long not to properly develop it and start earning revenue--planetary mortgage payments are hard to justify with no income.

How things change: our history books tell of Earthlings in past millenia bringing us great gifts, treasures, and virgins. Our problem then was how to politely dispose of piles of rotting food left for us at the temples they built to honor us. You'll understand the gold and gems they left are a dime a dozen when you learn how simple transmutation is; but we would like to thank you for all the virgins...

Zortec
Newbeak
not rated yet Feb 13, 2011
Getting serious again,considering what we don't know,this whole discussion may be analogous to debating the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin..
scout29c
not rated yet Feb 13, 2011
Alas, my question goes unanswered. Seven days ago I left a question on the very subject and at the very site that should be able to answer it and all I got back was a reference to the signals from Voyager.

If we are doing our best to pickup a signal from Voyager, then this whole endeavor is a joke.

If a civilization somewhat like ours was doing exactly what this article is about, how far out would it have to be before its signal would be too weak to be picked up by SETI? That’s all I’m asking. How far?
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (24) Feb 13, 2011
@zyrtec
Indeed, I sincerely hope the comments are not typical of Earthlings, or we'll be tempted to just vaporize the joint.

Snore. Yawn. Belch. Fart. Scratch. We are non-plussed.
but we would like to thank you for all the virgins...
Hey, is this you guys?-

"4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days - and also afterward - when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown."

-Your people obviously have no business sense. You sit on leases for 4k years? Humans will call Ferengi now to negotiate bundy fuel. That's right- FERENGI. The most ruthless free-marketers in the quadrant. You will soon be pumping THEIR gas Ausländer, wearing shirts with Habib nametags on them.

Heroes my ass-
geokstr
1 / 5 (1) Feb 13, 2011
Without "writing" or something equivalent, it's simply not possible to preserve knowledge and technology and coordinate a civilization with any decent degree.

Yes, without writings, how would we coordinate and hold meetings for our committees? Civilization would collapse.
arbiture
not rated yet Feb 13, 2011
I cant help but think when we say Math is the most logical way to say, Hi, or something.... to ET. Math is the only "true", or its the "pure" language as science believes. Oh? Math is just another language period. I dont think its the secret decoder rinq. It may be OUR "Rosetta Stone", which by the way was not math but a "value system, whats it to you?, sort of thing" Yes there was math,but you understood "why" the Ancients valued the nile, for ex. Or did you just know they did? Since I dont think one must be a "tool maker" (Dolphins,Whales...) to have a culture and as far as Im concerned math at least in the acoustic lingo/sensors they have, is there.Sure. But what do you think would interest them to strike up a conversation? Where the best fishing is, and given astonishing intelligence perhaps "philosophical math", and politics. Perhaps even interpersonal "games"; (Hey Fred, I can fool (w/sonar)Mom into thinking I'm a Whale! cool eh??)
Newbeak
not rated yet Feb 13, 2011
Scout29c: I think your question is academic-if there are civilizations out there,the odds of them being at the same development stage as us are infinitesimal.They are either far ahead technologically,and couldn't care less about primitives like us,or they are still evolving.
This is what bothers me about SETI.They assume aliens have the same motivations as humans,are still using radio to communicate,and are roughly equivalent to us technologically speaking.
scout29c
not rated yet Feb 13, 2011
Newsbreak, your missing my point – and question.

How far out are our current signals - both this one the article is about and the unintentional ones like TV the article mentions - how far out before those signals are too weak for SETI to pick up?

I don’t believe if a civilization as advanced as ours was sending out signals just like we are, and they were as near as the next solar system, one light year away, SETI could not pick them up. We are not that good. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s a 2 or 5 or 10 light year radius that we could pick up the Evening News. Further out than that and the signal would be too weak. I’m just asking.

Newsbreak, the question is not how advanced they (or we) are, but how sensitive our equipment is.

PC47
not rated yet Feb 13, 2011
It would be interesting to test this new protocol by sending it through the SETI algorithm to see if our own technology would identify the intended message.
Newbeak
not rated yet Feb 13, 2011
Scout29c: I am not a radio astronomer,so I can't answer your question-their radio telescopes presumably would have to be precisely pointed at earth to pick up our signals,assuming they have similar equipment to ours.I will reiterate my original answer to your question by stating that your question is moot-you are assuming "they" are at the same technological level as us,and I am saying that is highly unlikely.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Feb 19, 2011
Without "writing" or something equivalent, it's simply not possible to preserve knowledge and technology and coordinate a civilization with any decent degree.

Yes, without writings, how would we coordinate and hold meetings for our committees? Civilization would collapse.

Without writing, history turns into stories that are often improperly recalled. It would be very difficult to pass your more complex knowledge onto future generations without writing.

There's a reason why the technology curve takes off after the first writings were found.
dean_good1
not rated yet Mar 22, 2011
It is obvious to me that they "ET" are already here, have been here for a very long time, and controll everyaspect of the planet already. For what reason they "Goverment" will not make them known to us for must be a good reason. Maybe they are just waiting for us to "fatten up"? oops, we already did that! It is also obviouse to me that they "ET" are already communicating with us, but 99% of the population does not want to know the truth. They jsut want to stay enslaved to thier relijions because they cannot think on thier own.
Terrible_Bohr
not rated yet Mar 23, 2011
If the puppet government of an alien conspiracy wants to fatten us up, why haven't they revoked my gym membership?