Re: SETI: Wild speculations time

Marcia Steelman (
Tue, 27 Jul 1999 23:43:26 -0400

Hi all,

It seems to me that if we are looking for signs of distant technologies
we should investigate all possibilities we can.

I have been reading all sorts of explanations on why this methodology is
better than the other, but don't see why any of the several SETI
programs should have a better chance to succed than the others(except by
extent of coverage of the sky, and quality of the equipment, of course).

I believe we should be looking for any kind on anomalies we cannot
explain in our surrounding universe, as natural phenomena.

I am afraid I am just a "Down-to-Earth-Engineer" (I can't help it -
grin) that wants to get the job done. In my opinion, to make assumptions
that a particular kind of technology is being used is irrelevant, since
we have no way to know what they would be using or doing, and therefore
we have a great chance to be wrong at the beginning of the work. The
only assumption we can safely make is that if they have some kind of
technology they must be transforming their surroundings, since that is
what technology does and to certain extent *is*. In this investigation
we are not looking for non-technological beings.

If we are talking about a transforming the environment, that means that
work is being done, and energy is being wasted, used or transformed into
other forms of energy, not necessarily to communicate, since they might
not require it at all.

If that energy waste is large enough we might detect it just because we
are looking, hearing, and watching for anything that comes out of the
background, or above the noise.

I think is great that different groups are dedicating time and effort to
search for diverse forms of energy. This way I believe is the only way
we can increase our chances of success. This is one of these truly
pioneer studies, where we don't know exactly what we are looking for
until we finally find it.

The clear definition of we are looking for and the method of search,
improving on what has been done before, taking us one step further,
validates all different SETI investigations: Optical SETI, Microwave
SETI, the targeted searches on nearby stars of the Project Phoenix, you
name it.

Why can't we be brave enough to say we are doing it just because we have
a question: Are we alone? And we want the answer, no matter how long it

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Sun Aug 01 1999 - 16:28:46 PDT