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Old 03-22-2017, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Nick Pierce View Post
Mars is a nice planet. Yes, I know the perception is no one is there. But how is it we are so certain no one is nearby?

By using our current observational technology?

What are the odds that a masking technology is not at work out there?
Possibly, but if the aliens are sufficiently advanced to ensure we do not find them (and motivated to do so), than presuming the aliens are not there or trying to find them is approximately equal.

But anywho, with SETI they are trying to detect signals of civilization from other planets*, but IMO, SETI should only focus on stars etc of a certain distance from Earth (if they actually want to enable communication). Alpha Centauri (from memory) is about 4 light years away, if there were a civilization there, a signal will take ~4 years. Thus, if SETI started bombarding Alpha Centauri with messages 8 years ago to let them know we are here, they should only be expecting to hear a response now.

Also, if, on Alpha Centauri, there is a civilization, similar to ours, it is also important, that in the entire history of our civilization, we may have only made our existence known to the universe (in my understanding) within the last 100 years (radio signals etc) and we have only utilised dishes to pick up radio etc signals from space for less than this period of time. There is the chance that they are not as civilised as us. Vice versa, if we listen to Alpha Centauri and they are our "equivalent" of the middle ages, we will need to listen for 100s more years until we start hearing a signal.

Therefore, what SETI would have to do is, only focus on and/or bombard as many ~10 light year distance stars from us, repeatedly to increase the chance of i) finding an alien civilization and ii) finding an alien civilization advanced enough to receive our signal, and iii) finding an alien civilization advanced enough to interpret our signal and respond.

But, regardless of everything above, I actually like the idea of SETI, and it would be extraordinary to find something.

*It would not be a bad thing if SETI found signals from a civilization from stars over 26,000 light years away, because this would be an extraordinary achievement in that they will prove life exists on other planets. But depending on what is in those signals may make any further utilisation of this knowledge impossible. If the signal contained an historical document of that planet, that would be cool, but if the signal was just, "How's it going champ?" less so.
If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas
-George Bernard Shaw
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