archive: Re: SETI Yet another hair-brained-antenna-idea?

Re: SETI Yet another hair-brained-antenna-idea?

Richard Burke-Ward ( )
Sun, 6 Sep 98 20:04:36 +0100

Rich Tyndall wrote:

>Some Probe theory. Some have estimated that during the next 10 Million
>years, probes
>(or manned star ships) from Earth could travel to most parts of the Milky
>Way. That is,
>if they can fly at 0.1 the speed of light. (Plus or minus a few million
>years for variations in
>propulsion technology)..
>Paradoxically speaking, during in the last 10 Billion years, many
>(thousands?) of ET
>civilizations should have, 'Been there, done that'. As the man said
>"Where's ETI"?
>They should be here already! So the point is, maybe they are. Maybe
>there are some
>robotic Probes sitting out there in near-earth space scanning the Earth
>for signs
>of intelligence. ;-)
>Why have they kept silent? That's a good question, maybe they're on a
>Maybe they only call us for 3 weeks every 15 years.. Or maybe LDEs are
>they put out to see what our reaction will be..?. (Did you notice the
>word 'maybe'
>appears at random in the above text)? This could go on for pages & ages..


I'm truly glad to see people being open-minded about this question (and
while we're about it, thanks to Paul for the editorial in the last issue
of SearchLites). The thing I find weird is that it requires no more acts
of 'faith' than radio SETI does - the only assumptions involved are (a)
that ETI may exist, and (b) it's not entirely probable that we are the
first or most advanced example of intelligence. The idea that there may
be probes already here follows with pretty irrefutable logic from those
two assumptions - and they are the *same* assumptions that suggest we
should point radio telescopes 'out there'.

So why do people think of ETI 'out there' as sicence and ETI probes
'here' as science fiction?

A few weeks ago I suggested that - with a suitably sceptical approach -
it might be possible for a group of technically and scientifically
literate people such as the SETI League membership to design and conduct
experiments which would actually help nail down what LDE's really were
(and almost certainly conclude they were nothing to do with probes) there
was almost no response at all. Lukewarm would have been good.

Personally I don't have an opinion about LDE's - but also there is no
established explanation for them. There is a hypothesis
( ref from Ed Cole) that as far as I could tell
suggested some kind of reverse lasing mechanism. But this is untested.
There is another hypothesis (dramatically less likely, I grant you) that
it represents an attemot at communication from an ETI's probe. Everyone
agrees the phenomenon is real, however, there is *not* presently an
established and testged explanation for it - even though it would be
possible to do the experiments. If anyone can do it, you lot can (I'd
incluse myself but I have no radio and no expertise).

So, once again - how about it? The first published scientific paper with
'SETI League' written down as the author?