Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
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Aliens are big in America. Whether they’ve arrived via rocket, flying saucer, or plain old teleportation, they’ve been invading, infiltrating, or inspiring us for decades, and they’ve fascinated moviegoers and television watchers for more than fifty years. About half of us believe that aliens really exist, and millions are convinced they’ve visited Earth.
For twenty-five years, SETI has been looking for the proof, and as the program’s senior astronomer, Seth Shostak explains in this engrossing book, it’s entirely possible that before long conclusive evidence will be found.
His informative, entertaining report offers an insider’s view of what we might realistically expect to discover light-years away among the stars. Neither humanoids nor monsters, says Shostak; in fact, biological intelligence is probably just a precursor to machine beings, enormously advanced artificial sentients whose capabilities and accomplishments may have developed over billions of years and far exceed our own.
As he explores what, if anything, they would tell us and what their existence would portend for humankind and the cosmos, he introduces a colorful cast of characters and provides a vivid, state-of-the-art account of the past, present, and future of our search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
Interstellar medium: organic compounds Io (Jovian satellite) Jansky, Karl Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif. Jodrell Bank Observatory, England Jordan, Jane Jupiter (planet): moons Kasparov, Gary Kepler, Johannes Kepler mission Khare, Bishun Knapp, Don Kurzweil, Ray Lasers Lavrakas, Paul Lear, John Learned, John Leonardo da Vinci Lerman, Louis Levin, Gilbert Life: artificial; carbon-based; diversity on Earth; durability of; engineered; evolution on Earth;.
Everywhere, but a deliberate construction. It was a face built by aliens. Hoagland soon elaborated this story. He pointed out odd-looking features within a few dozen miles of the head which he claimed were part of a “city,” nicely fitted out with a pyramid, a fortress, and other clearly essential municipal constructions. The Face on Mars was just an outlying structure in an ancient Martian metropolis. Incredulous, NASA pooh-poohed the whole thing, but Hoagland claimed that the space agency was.
Radio astronomers. After all, they had been dabbling in SETI ever since Drake’s 1960 experiment.* But the small sizes (and budgets) of most university astronomy departments augured against anyone making a major enterprise out of this niche research area. In the end, a medical doctor started the first truly serious program to hunt for alien radio signals. John Billingham, an English physiologist who had worked on protective suits and other space flight technology for both the Royal Air Force and.
Highly respected astronomers, who claim that the best planets for life would be situated in that narrow neighborhood. Let’s also assume that, for our part, we’ve built a neutrino detector more than 0.2 cubic mile (1 cubic kilometer) in size,* able to notice one particle in a thousand (a pretty good hit rate: Most of today’s neutrino experiments detect one particle in a million). To attract our attention with only ten detected neutrinos—an uncomplicated message that says no more than “we’re trying.
This failure to stake out a target for hours or days virtually guarantees that we will fail to find hailing signals that repeat only intermittently. Now you might think that other telescopes—perhaps even the Hubble Space Telescope—might make up for this deficiency, since these other devices are frequently trained on one patch of the sky for long periods of time. Alas, their imaging devices, which are similar to those you’d find in a digital camera, cannot detect light pulses shorter than about.