Tag: Seth Shostak

Fear of What’s Out There Causes Big Split Among Space Scientists

by Peter Fimrite            February 25, 2019                   (sfchronicle.com)

• A faction of the San Francisco-based SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) has split off to form METI, or Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence. While SETI traditionalists believe humans should only look and listen for extraterrestrials to avoid tipping off evil aliens, the METI group intends to broadcast messages to space aliens. The clash is the first major division in the tight-knit community of astronomers, astrophysicists, philosophers, psychologists and science fiction writers who are convinced intelligent beings are out there somewhere.

• SETI has been searching in vain for radio signals or some other sign of life beyond Earth from its Bay Area Mountain View headquarters for 35 years. Astrobiologist Douglas Vakoch, who split with the METI group, says, “What if [the ET’s] position is, ‘No, you are the ones who are new to this game. You send us a signal first.’” METI will employ radar and laser technology to beam more powerful multi-directional messages into space.

• SETI astronomers are worried that less-then-friendly extraterrestrials might be more inclined to enslave Earthlings and mercilessly plunder and destroy Earth. “We wonder whether the galaxy that we are in is maybe a dark forest, where it is dangerous to scream because there are creatures out there unhappy with new life forms,” said astronomer Andrew Fraknoi. “You don’t want to advertise your presence in a dark forest.” Stephen Hawking was among those who warned that aliens “may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria.”

• Vakoch formed METI after a vote in 2014 by the SETI Institute board rejecting his plans to broadcast messages. Vakoch and his supporters reason that any predatory civilization would probably have detected us by now, since our radar, radio and television signals would long ago have signaled our presence. They began sending active signals into space in 2017. “We may have to target hundreds and thousands and maybe millions of stars before we find anything.” Says Vakoch. “I view this as a reflection of the natural growth of SETI.”

• Using Earth’s current technology, it would take 80,000 years for an astronaut to reach the closest star, Alpha Centauri. Fraknoi speculates that self-replicating civilizations could travel through space for thousands of years and still be alive to tell about it when the trip is over.

• Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute who supports Vakoch’s work, says that given the enormous distances, we may never find intelligent life if we don’t get out there and look for it. “No transmissions into the sky because there might be nasty aliens out there.’ That’s just paranoia. Paranoia is not a good long-term policy.”

• The issue moved to the forefront in 1989 when SETI scientists published a declaration of principles on how international leaders should be consulted before anyone replies to an ET signal. A committee of the International Academy of Astronautics took it a step further in the 1990’s, urging consultations with world leaders before anyone attempts to broadcast a powerful message into space that is likely to be detectable by alien life.

• “Human history is littered with examples of societies disrupted by direct contact with others, even when it was led by idealistic missionaries,” Says Michael Michaud, former director of the State Department’s Office of Space and Advanced Technology. “Ignore the Hollywood scenario of reptilian aliens landing on Earth’s surface to conquer our planet. They would not need to use futuristic weapons; the correct pesticide would do.”

[Editor’s Note]  Could the real purpose for these “scientists” to labor in vain for decades be to simply to create a disinformation campaign to make people believe that ‘smart people’ are actively looking for alien beings, and since they haven’t officially found any, then we can presume that there are no aliens out there?  Mainstream science willfully denies the ample proof that dozens of different extraterrestrial species have visited the Earth over the past seventy years. Some alien species are positive and some are negative. The positive ones abide by a galactic law of non-interference with a low-level developing species such as we humans on Earth. The negative ones however, which do include the Draco Reptilians, couldn’t give a hoot about galactic law. But their M.O. is not to wipe us out and take over the planet. They prefer to keep us mind-controlled, determining what we are allowed to know, and using us as slave workers to generate an economic and industrial resource that they can exploit to continue to build out their own secret space program, off-world bases and colonies. Also, the system is set up so that humans must perpetually endure emotional fear, confusion, hardship, conflict and war, in order to create a form of energetic sustenance called ‘loosh’, which the higher negative Archon beings require. If we all woke up, turned to the loving Creator, and denied these negative beings all of this negative energy, this perverted system would collapse virtually overnight.

 

A cosmic rift has opened between Bay Area astronomers and a splinter group of San Francisco stargazers who are hell-bent on contacting space aliens, hang the consequences.

       Douglas Vakoch

The schism pits the traditionalists, who believe humans should only look and listen for extraterrestrials to avoid tipping off evil aliens, against a rebel faction that wants to broadcast messages to intelligent beings, assuming they are altruistic.
The battle is so heated that one prominent scientist quit the Mountain View group known as SETI, or Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, to form METI, or Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

    Andrew Fraknoi

“We’ve always assumed the extraterrestrials were looking for us,” Vakoch said. But “what if their position is, ‘No, you are the ones who are new to this game. You send us a signal first.’”

SETI has been searching for radio signals or some other sign of life beyond Earth from its Mountain View headquarters for 35 years, but with nothing to show for its effort, Vakoch and other restless alien hunters are insisting on a more active search, including employing radar and laser technology to beam more powerful multidirectional messages into space.

The problem, many SETI astronomers warn, is that, instead of an intergalactic kumbaya, intelligent extraterrestrials might very well be more inclined to enslave Earthlings and mercilessly plunder and destroy Earth.

Those who adhere to this dark theory imagine humanity as a childlike form of life lost in an Amazonian jungle crawling with skulking predators, said Andrew Fraknoi, a SETI Institute board member.

                  Seth Shostak

“We wonder whether the galaxy that we are in is maybe a dark forest, where it is dangerous to scream because there are creatures out there unhappy with new life forms,” said Fraknoi, an astronomer who will be teaching a course in April called Aliens in Science and Science Fiction at the University of San Francisco’s Fromm Institute. “With every strong signal we send out, we advertise our presence, and you don’t want to advertise your presence in a dark forest.”

The clash represents the first major division in the traditionally tight-knit community of astronomers, astrophysicists, philosophers, psychologists and science fiction writers who are convinced intelligent beings are out there somewhere.
Vakoch and his supporters, including some astronomers at SETI, call the dark forest analogy silly. Any predatory civilization would probably have detected us by now simply by analyzing our atmosphere, they reason. Humans, Vakoch said, have been using radar, which can purportedly be detected 70 light-years away, since World War II. Television and radio signals would long ago have signaled our presence to malevolent space ruffians, he said.

          Michael Michaud

Unconcerned about an invasion of intergalactic invertebrates who are out for our heads, Vakoch adapted a transmitter and used a Norwegian observatory in late 2017 to send a message 12.4 light-years away to Luyten’s Star, a red dwarf with a large planet in the constellation Canis Minor.

He spent years developing the message, combining mathematics and the fundamentals of language that he believes even a blind alien could understand. It was the first of what Vakoch hopes will be many signals sent by his group.
“Our goal is to say we are interested in making contact,” Vakoch said. “We may have to target hundreds and thousands and maybe millions of stars before we find anything. I view this as a reflection of the natural growth of SETI.”

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Alien Civilizations Could Be Behind The Deep Space Fast Radio Bursts That Puzzle Astrophysicists

by Vadim Ioan Caraiman                January 30, 2019                (canadianhomesteading.ca)

• Not long ago, a team of Canadian astronomers spotted weird and repeating fast radio bursts (FRB) signals coming from deep space for the second time in history. Senior SETI astronomer Seth Shostak believes that alien civilizations could be behind mysterious deep space fast radio bursts.

• While humanity has not yet “officially” established contact with an alien civilization, we have sent signals and probes into space, hoping to get in touch with extraterrestrials. The aliens may be doing the same thing using fast radio bursts to establish contact.

• “Could that be aliens that are in those galaxies and they have some need to get in touch? Well, maybe,” said Senior SETI astronomer Seth Shostak on ABC News Live.

• “It is something new, every time we see something we’ve never seen before that is an opportunity to learn something new about the universe,” said astrophysicist Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi.

• Shostak unveiled on ABC News Live that, in 1997, SETI recorded a signal that was really promising. “We had picked up a signal, and it was passing all the tests. That looked like the real deal. I was there waiting for the Men in Black to show up,” said Shostak.

[Editor’s Note]   The 1997 SETI signal that Shostak refers to is apparently not the other FRB in history. The first FRB was the “Wow! Signal” detected at Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope in 1977. See this ExoArticle on the Wow! Signal.

 

Not long ago, a team of Canadian astronomers spotted weird and repeating fast radio bursts (FRB) signals coming from deep space. That was the second time in history when scientists detected a repeating deep space FRB. While the origins of these fast radio bursts remain a mystery to astronomers, some other scientists have an even more bizarre theory on this topic. Senior SETI astronomer Seth Shostak, for example, believes that alien civilizations could be behind mysterious deep space fast radio bursts.

                            Seth Shostak

Despite the many photos and footages showing UFOs or even extraterrestrials, humanity has not yet established contact with an alien civilization. At least, not officially, if we are to believe conspiracy theory enthusiasts. However, we sent signals into space and even probes, hoping that we could get in touch with extraterrestrials.

But what if the aliens are doing the same things? What if extraterrestrials themselves are struggling to contact other civilizations? In case they’re indeed doing that, advanced alien civilizations might use fast radio bursts to establish contact.

Alien Civilizations Could Be Behind The Deep Space Fast Radio Bursts

“Could that be aliens that are in those galaxies and they have some need to get in touch? Well, maybe,” said Senior SETI astronomer Seth Shostak on ABC News Live. “It is something new, every time we see something we’ve never seen before that is an opportunity to learn something new about the universe,” also added Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi.

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How Paul Allen Saved the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

by Daniel Oberhaus                   October 16, 2018                (motherboard.vice.com)

• On October 15th, Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Paul Allen (pictured above) died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 65. In addition to owning the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers, Allen founded a brain science institute, an AI institute, and Stratolaunch Systems, which was exploring private spaceflight. In addition, Allen almost single-handedly rescued American SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) by donating over $30 million to scientists scanning the cosmos for intelligent radio signals.

• During the 1980’s, SETI was generally funded through participating university programs and endowments. In the 1990’s as university funding diminished, NASA began helping to fund SETI. But that only lasted a year before some in Congress complained that we were wasting money on a “great Martian chase.” SETI realized that the only hope for the future was private funding.

• Barney Oliver, the founder of Hewlett Packard laboratories and SETI supporter, contacted his billionaire buddies Bill Hewlett and David Packard, Intel founder Gordon Moore, and Paul Allen to successfully raise $20 million to keep SETI’s research moving forward.

• SETI was leasing global telescopes for its projects. But ultimately, SETI wanted its own dedicated array of radio telescopes to target hundreds of stars at a time. SETI’s founder, Jill Tarter, put together an array of 350 20-foot radio telescopes, but needed $25 million to purchase it. Paul Allen stepped up and footed the bill to create the first American SETI telescope array located in northern California. “There’s no doubt that Paul saved American SETI,” said Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute.

• By 2007, the SETI array consisted of 42 telescopes. At the dedication ceremony, Paul Allen pushed the button to turn the system on. Over the past ten years, the SETI array has analyzed 200 million signals from thousands of stars, studied unusual high-energy radio emissions, and even scanned the “spliff-shaped” Oumuamua asteroid for signs of intelligent life. Paul Allen had turned his attention to other projects, and the array was shut down for a year in 2011 due to lack of continued funding, however. But Allen remained a public supporter. Said Allen, “I think everybody would admit [the prospect of communicating with extraterrestrials] is a long shot, but if that long shot comes in…”

 

On Monday evening, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 65. At the time of his death, Allen was the 47th richest person in the world, with a net worth of $26 billion. For the last few decades of his life, Allen used his wealth for a staggering variety of business and philanthropic interests. In addition to owning the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers, Allen founded a brain science institute, an AI institute, and Stratolaunch Systems, which was exploring private spaceflight.

Yet one of the research areas where Allen made the biggest impact was also the one he spoke about the least: the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). Indeed, Allen almost single-handedly rescued American SETI by donating over $30 million to scientists scanning the cosmos for intelligent radio signals.

SETI’s early years in the United States was mostly defined by intermittent searches bankrolled with public funds, such as the National Science Foundation-funded program at Ohio State University which discovered the Wow! signal, or university endowments, such as Harvard’s Project Sentinel. By the early 90s, however, many of the early SETI programs had ended. The best hope for detecting extraterrestrial intelligence seemed to be NASA’s first foray into SETI, the Microwave Observing Program, which began observations in 1992.

             SETI founder, Jill Tarter

Less than a year after the start of NASA’s SETI program, it was killed by members of Congress who didn’t want to waste money on the “great Martian chase.” The SETI Institute, a nonprofit founded in 1984 by the radio astronomer Jill Tarter, wasn’t going to let SETI die at the hands of a few cynical congressmen, but it also realized that the only hope for the future was privately funded searches.

Fortunately, one of the earliest SETI Institute supporters was Barney Oliver, who founded and directed Hewlett Packard laboratories. So in 1993 Oliver called Bill Hewlett and David Packard of Hewlett Packard, Intel founder Gordon Moore, and Paul Allen to ask for their support.

“It probably only took Barney a few hours on the phone to get each of them to commit $1 million every year for the next five years,” Seth Shostak, the senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, told me on the phone. “I’m not sure any of them were particularly interested in SETI, but they were interested in whatever Barney thought was a good idea.”

This $20 million commitment bankrolled Project Phoenix, a SETI program that ran from 1995 to 1998. Over the course of three years, Project Phoenix rented time on the Parkes radio telescope in Australia and the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia to scan for signals from 800 stars within 200-light years of Earth.

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