SETI: When is enough enough?

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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by OlegTheBatty » Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:01 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:39 pm
then over 8 billion years, some of them would have aggressively colonised the galaxy. This did not happen, so we can concluded that such civilisations are rare.
Assumes a whole bunch of facts not in evidence.
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by ElectricMonk » Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:06 pm

There is no conceivable reason to colonize the galaxy.

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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by OlegTheBatty » Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:27 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:06 pm
There is no conceivable reason to colonize the galaxy.
You are free to not colonize it then.
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by ElectricMonk » Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:49 pm

OlegTheBatty wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:27 pm
ElectricMonk wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:06 pm
There is no conceivable reason to colonize the galaxy.
You are free to not colonize it then.
I want an intergalactic Mobile Home that I can drive from sun to sun as they go out.

And I want Intergalactic Space Pants:


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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by landrew » Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:57 pm

What's the difference between colonization and infection?
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:54 pm

OlegTheBatty wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:33 pm
Gawdzilla Sama wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:02 pm
"The existence of humans cover such a tiny percentage of the age of the earth, the Fermi Paradox is really about why are they not here NOW, not where are they."

And it's still stupid.
The only paradox I see is that there are people who think it is a paradox.
Blame Fermi, he thought it was paradoxical that they weren't HERE. Massive ego there.
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Lance Kennedy » Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:52 pm

OlegTheBatty wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:01 pm


Assumes a whole bunch of facts not in evidence.
I have already posted the information required to show it is POSSIBLE to colonise the entire galaxy to the point of overpopulation in about one million years.

The rest can be gleaned from our knowledge of life on Earth and evolution.
All life needs a way to increase its numbers and disperse itself. If not it would go extinct. Humans, as the only sophisticated tool users on planet Earth, have proved their ability to increase numbers. Dispersion is also proved with humans living on all continents (even Antarctica) and all larger islands.

Now, it is a very small assumption that for an alien species to evolve to complete success, meaning major technological sophistication, it must, like humans, possess the ability to increase numbers and disperse itself. The dispersion mechanism, in a highly intelligent species, is probably behavioural, as it is in humans.

So, if (emphasize the "if") there are many alien civilisations within our galaxy, it is safe to conclude that many will have the ability to increase numbers and disperse themselves widely. That would inevitably lead to occupying the entire galaxy.

Since this has not happened, my conclusion is that there are not many alien civilisations in our galaxy.

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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Poodle » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:43 am

You are making the assumption, Lance, that there is a technology which could make it possible to successfully bridge interstellar gaps. They are HUGE gaps and may prove to be insurmountable barriers to the spread of even the most intelligent of species. Yes, I know you emphasised the 'if', but you still went on to imply that ET should be everywhere.

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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:28 pm

Poodle

There are three space drives that I know of that are capable of accelerating a star ship to between 0.1 C and 0.5 C. My information comes from an article some years ago by NASA scientists written in Scientific American.

1. The ion drive. This already exists, and the Dawn probe to the asteroids used it. Current models cannot go so fast, but suitable development will (according to those NASA scientists ) lead to a sufficiently fast model.

2. The Orion drive. Basically exploding lots of atom bombs under your arse. Not ever used (for obvious reasons) but possible in theory. This might push a star ship to as much as 0.5 C.

3. The fusion torch drive. Not yet possible, but may be developed in the future. This would also, in theory, permit a top speed of 0.5 C.

If we go very conservative, and assume maximum 0.1 C, and an acceleration plus deceleration time of 10 years each, it would take about 55 years to travel between stars, such as here to Alpha Centauri. Seems a lot, but not too bad if we also assume extra technologies such as very long life span, or something like cold sleep (hibernation, involving massive slowing of body functions).

Even at a maximum speed of 0.1C, the total colonisation of our galaxy could happen in a couple million years. That is a mere eyeblink in astronomical time.

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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by ElectricMonk » Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:52 pm

You forgot the Bistromathics Drive and the Infinite Improbability Drive.

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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:54 pm

We won't get FTL until Sumgui gets here.
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by landrew » Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:25 pm

I think we're incredibly short-sighted, and very bad at predicting technological advances. A generation born into the age of horse and carriage were witness to men walking on the moon. Today's smartphones have exceeded the wildest predictions made about computers a few decades before. I think it's foolish to assume that advanced civilizations that exist elsewhere have never been able to contact us due to the limitations of technology that we ourselves impose. I'm not saying that all UFOs are ET visitors, but it does seem unlikely that all advanced civilizations are unaware of our existence. Particularly due to the consensus by virtually all scientists that intelligent life must exist somewhere else in the universe, due to the massive odds in it's favor alone.
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:44 pm

The problem with your logic, landrew, is that it begins with the assumption that there are advanced alien civilisations in our galaxy. There is no evidence that they exist, and there is a school of thought to suggest they are rare, possibly none in our galaxy. This is known as the Rare Earth Hypothesis.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rare_Earth_hypothesis

The idea that advanced life is common is beloved of statisticians, who think that large numbers of stars mean large numbers of aliens. The Rare Earth Hypothesis appeals more to a good biologist, who knows that living things are special, and not likely to pop up on each and every planet with liquid water.

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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:09 pm

Conversely, life started here very early on. It would be a huge coincidence that the "rare conditions" happened here and not elsewhere. How many "elsewheres" would be a bone of contention, of course. I think life will be common, but planets with intelligent life will be a subset of planets with life, and the guesstimates of that percentage is wide open.
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by landrew » Sun Oct 21, 2018 3:04 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:44 pm
The problem with your logic, landrew, is that it begins with the assumption that there are advanced alien civilisations in our galaxy. There is no evidence that they exist, and there is a school of thought to suggest they are rare, possibly none in our galaxy. This is known as the Rare Earth Hypothesis.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rare_Earth_hypothesis

The idea that advanced life is common is beloved of statisticians, who think that large numbers of stars mean large numbers of aliens. The Rare Earth Hypothesis appeals more to a good biologist, who knows that living things are special, and not likely to pop up on each and every planet with liquid water.
The rare earth hypothesis is not the consensus, most scientists think the odds defy it.
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:07 am

Landrew and Gawd

It is true that we do not know whether alien life is common or not. My view is that the Fermi Paradox needs to be answered, and the simplest answer is that alien civilisations are rare. I could be wrong, of course.

I am prepared to accept that very simple life, like bacteria, may be a little more common. After all, most of the time life existed here on Earth, it was just such simple life. Eukaryotes (having a cell nucleus ) are relatively new to the scene.

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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Poodle » Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:01 am

Here's a recent article which suggests that suitable environments may be reasonably common ...
https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/sci ... d-on-earth
There's a link in there to the source material for the article should anyone want the small print.

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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:50 am

The problem with that kind of thing, Poodle, is that those guys are engaged in a game of speculation, based on lack of actual knowledge. No one really knows what is required for life to begin, even here on Earth, much less on other planets.

There are two schools of thought.
1. Life will be common.
2. Life will be rare.

I subscribe to the latter, partly because of the Fermi Paradox, and partly because I know that conditions suitable not just for life, but also for life to evolve to higher forms, are special.

Consider the following requirements.
1. A parent star that is as stable as our sun, not delivering harmful outbursts of radiation for billions of years. The closest other star to ours (Proxima Centauri) emits bursts of ultra violet and gamma rays that would fry any life on a planet in orbit.
2. A magnetic field to provide protection against radiation. Mars, for example, lacks this.
3. An orbit that is close to circular, as in our solar system, so as to avoid extreme seasons.
4. A large moon to stabilise the planetary spin, as Earths moon does.
5. No large planets close to the sun to perturb the orbit.
6. Low levels of bombardment by meteors etc.
7. Plate tectonics to permit a carbon cycle.
8. The correct sized planet. Large enough to hold an atmosphere, but not so large as to provide crippling gravity.
9. Liquid water on the surface.
10. The correct chemical make up of the planet to permit life to start and evolve.
11. No disasters for 4 billion years, like gamma ray bursters, or supernovas anywhere near.
12. In the right part of the galaxy, not near the violent center, but not so far out as to have too little metallicity.

The list goes on, but I have stopped at 12 for a reason.
This is to make a calculation easy. If one planet in ten has each of those conditions, then multiplying 1 in 10 by 12 leads us to determining that only 1 star system in 1,000,000,000,000 will have a planet to meet all 12 conditions, which means that advanced life will be found on 1 planet only in 10 separate galaxies the size of our Milky Way.

We do not really know what conditions are needed for life to come into being and evolve, so I am involved a bit of speculation. It may be that fewer conditions are needed, or that a higher proportion of planets will meet them. But it also could be that a lot more, and more stringent conditions are required, and advanced life is even rarer still.

But we are still faced with the Fermi Paradox. If numerous alien civilisations exist in our galaxy, we should have seen some trace of their activities by now. Even If it is just a fossil boot print from a visit made 100 million years ago.

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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Poodle » Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:15 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:50 am
... But we are still faced with the Fermi Paradox. If numerous alien civilisations exist in our galaxy, we should have seen some trace of their activities by now. Even If it is just a fossil boot print from a visit made 100 million years ago.
I appreciate what you say, Lance. However, the paradox is based upon human assumptions - if WE were so old and technologically developed, we'd be off there like a shot, but we cannot assume that THEY would ever have wanted to do that or, indeed, that any other life-forms in the entire universe have developed radiative communications technologies or, indeed, whether any other civilisations in the universe have ever got beyond a super-contented arable/pastoral state of existence blissfully ignorant of super-technological development. I don't think it entirely reasonable to demand that extra-terrestrial civilisations and societies conform to strictly human ideas.
EDIT: for what it's worth, I believe that life is common throughout the universe.

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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:10 am

Plus "If numerous alien civilisations exist in our galaxy", who ever said that?
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by landrew » Sun Oct 21, 2018 3:31 pm

I see dueling paradoxes here. On one hand you are asked to accept that astronomical odds (almost literally) make it likely that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe. On the other hand, it lends itself to wondering why they aren't already at our doorstep. It's a tough one, unless you lead yourself off into the rare earth hypothesis, which is is even more implausible when you think about it, especially given what we know about the appearance of extremophiles in the most inhospitable environments imaginable. Also, we see evidence of life on earth which seems to have appeared barely after the earth had cooled.
I appreciate the dilemma, being pushed and shoved into accepting one absurd notion or another. But no one ever said being a denialist was easy.
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:13 pm

{!#%@} ASTRONOMICAL DISTANCES.
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by ElectricMonk » Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:09 pm

Gawdzilla Sama wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:13 pm
{!#%@} ASTRONOMICAL DISTANCES.
bah.
I can do the Kessel Run in 12 Parsecs.

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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:18 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:09 pm
Gawdzilla Sama wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:13 pm
{!#%@} ASTRONOMICAL DISTANCES.
bah.
I can do the Kessel Run in 12 Parsecs.
Fourteen.
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by OlegTheBatty » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:24 pm

I'm going to go out on a limb, here, but I think that one has searched enough when one finds what one is searching for. Before that, there has not been enough searching.
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:28 pm

OlegTheBatty wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:24 pm
I'm going to go out on a limb, here, but I think that one has searched enough when one finds what one is searching for. Before that, there has not been enough searching.
First contact, it's always in the last place you look.
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:36 pm

Poodle

Your last post is the old argument that an alien species may be happy to stay at home. Maybe. But every species on Earth has some mechanism for dispersal. If only one other alien civilisation exists in our galaxy, then maybe they are stay at home types. But if even ten such groups exist, then bearing in mind the fact that evolution has equipped every Earth species with a mechanism for dispersal, at least one of those ten should have an instinct for dispersal.

Landrew.

Your extremophile argument is based on a fallacy.
Sure, here on Earth, there are extremophile organisms that can survive in weird conditions. But they evolved that ability over 4 billion years. There is absolutely no reason to suggest that life can BEGIN under those weird conditions. It is far more likely that abiogenesis requires very special conditions, such as a hot thermal spring, with liquid water. Sadly, we do not yet know exactly what conditions are needed, or how much they can vary to still permit life to arise. But it is seriously unlikely that extreme conditions, challenging survival, will do it. A bit like a new born baby requiring special care.

It will take a while before researchers can determine what conditions are needed. So far, not terribly hopeful. Mars lacks the right stuff, and our nearest stellar neighbour has lethal bursts of radiation. How rare is extraterrestrial life ? We do not know, but I am betting it is rare, and highly evolved ET even more so.

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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by OlegTheBatty » Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:10 pm

Orcas are intelligent self-aware {!#%@} (when they choose to be). They go where they want and are widespread. For some reason, though, I never see them around here.

The point being, that not all species would want to come here. Titan may harbour life. What would a Titanian want with an earth-like planet?
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:41 pm

That, Oleg, is Poodles argument. It might apply to one or two alien civilisations. But if you want to imply that there will be lot, it no longer applies.

All that is needed is one single aggressive and expansionist alien civilisation, any time in the last few billion years, and by now they will be everywhere.

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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by landrew » Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:35 pm

It seemed like a good idea at first.
After more than 40 years of doing the same thing (more or less) and expecting a different result...
I think it's time to call it a result. Although you normally can't prove a negative, I think it's safe to say that a very large portion of space is devoid of intelligent signals.
What conclusions one can draw from that, I leave that to others, but I still think it's time to shut down the program and concentrate on other avenues of research.
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by landrew » Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:37 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:41 pm
That, Oleg, is Poodles argument. It might apply to one or two alien civilisations. But if you want to imply that there will be lot, it no longer applies.

All that is needed is one single aggressive and expansionist alien civilisation, any time in the last few billion years, and by now they will be everywhere.
I think it's in the nature of all organisms to exploit a niche, regardless of how it may negatively impact others.
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Austin Harper » Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:05 am

landrew wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:35 pm
It seemed like a good idea at first.
After more than 40 years of doing the same thing (more or less) and expecting a different result...
I think it's time to call it a result. Although you normally can't prove a negative, I think it's safe to say that a very large portion of space is devoid of intelligent signals.
What conclusions one can draw from that, I leave that to others, but I still think it's time to shut down the program and concentrate on other avenues of research.
But in those 40 years, we've barely searched the vast depths of our galaxy.
SETI wrote:How Much of the Sky Have You Covered?
The search space includes five degrees of freedom: the traditional x, y, and z coordinates (that is, azimuth, elevation and distance) plus frequency and time. The question you framed deals with the first three parameters. Although the world's collective SETI programs have by now probably looked in most of the possible directions at some frequency for some period of time, we've so far only looked reliably out to a distance of perhaps 200 light years. But our galaxy is 100,000 LY in diameter. So in terms of the volume of interstellar space, we've seen less than one fifteen millionth of our own Milky Way galaxy.

But it's worse than that. ...
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Gord » Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:40 am

Not only that, but new technologies are being developed to improve the search: https://bgr.com/2018/05/09/breakthrough ... iens-seti/
Search for aliens heats up as scientists prepare huge survey of the sky

May 9th, 2018

...Breakthrough Listen, which was created by researchers at SETI — the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence — will be gathering a huge amount of data. The newly-upgraded tools are capable of handling as much as 130 gigabits of data per second. In total, the researchers expect to gather nearly 100 petabytes of data during the experiment, and they’re hoping that somewhere in the noise is a signal that suggests intelligent origins.

“With these new capabilities, we are scanning our Galaxy in unprecedented detail,” Danny Price of the Breakthrough Listen project said in a statement. “By trawling through these huge datasets for signatures of technological civilizations, we hope to uncover evidence that our planet, among the hundreds of billions in our galaxy, is not the only where intelligent life has arisen.”...
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Poodle » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:49 am

... then again, it may well be that there is an expanding sphere of ETs who have suffered brain atrophy as our TV transmissions reach them. I mean - how far away can I watch Dr. Kildare these days?

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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:37 am

Poodle wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:49 am
... then again, it may well be that there is an expanding sphere of ETs who have suffered brain atrophy as our TV transmissions reach them. I mean - how far away can I watch Dr. Kildare these days?
Or they decided they didn't want to associate with being that could set a comedy in a Nazi prisoner of war camp. :roll:

But seriously, the "sphere" would have to be close and perfect if we were likely to be detected.
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by landrew » Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:17 pm

Austin Harper wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:05 am
But our galaxy is 100,000 LY in diameter. So in terms of the volume of interstellar space, we've seen less than one fifteen millionth of our own Milky Way galaxy.

But it's worse than that. ...
So, carry on and repeat 15 million times?
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by landrew » Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:21 pm

Gawdzilla Sama wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:37 am
Poodle wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:49 am
... then again, it may well be that there is an expanding sphere of ETs who have suffered brain atrophy as our TV transmissions reach them. I mean - how far away can I watch Dr. Kildare these days?
Or they decided they didn't want to associate with being that could set a comedy in a Nazi prisoner of war camp. :roll:

But seriously, the "sphere" would have to be close and perfect if we were likely to be detected.
Now that you mention it, if they've seen our TV shows like Hogan's Heroes and Gilligan's Island, they've probably concluded that there's no intelligent life here.
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:20 pm

American Idle.
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by Austin Harper » Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:58 pm

Venture Beat wrote:
The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI) is using off-the-shelf machine learning technology from Nvidia and Google to advance its mission of finding other forms of life in the universe.
...
"[F]ast radio bursts or FRBs are some of the most exciting sources that we know about in astronomy,” [Berkeley SETI Research Center director Andrew] Siemion said. “We just discovered them about 10 years ago. We know of about 50 or so sources of them, and one of them is known to repeat — it’s in fact, the only one that’s known to repeat. And as far as we know, for the moment it’s the only source that behaves this way. Some have suggested that the actual progenitor of the source might be some kind of technology.”

SETI looks for these signals by placing large telescopes around the world that are capable of producing hundreds of gigabytes of data a second, petabytes of which is stored by the SETI Breakthrough Listening program on an annual basis. Machine learning is then used to scour the data for anomalies.

Last fall, the team detected 21 FRBs over the span of six hours from data generated by the Green Bank telescope in West Virginia. A month later, an algorithm developed by a graduate student found an additional 72 bursts, making it the richest data set SETI has ever come across.
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Re: SETI: When is enough enough?

Post by landrew » Wed Oct 24, 2018 2:45 pm

Someone once said (maybe Stalin) that quantity has a quality of its own. The quantity of petabytes processed over the decades (with no success) should count for some sort of result.
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