Tag: SETI

UFOs Are Real, But Don’t Assume They’re Alien Spaceships

by Mike Wall                     June 4, 2019                       (foxnews.com)

• Seth Shostak (pictured above) is the senior astronomer at the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) in Mountain View, California. His job is to listen for signals from intelligent extraterrestrial sources in space.

• Shostak contends that, even though US Navy pilots have come forward to describe witnessing UFOs reaching hypersonic speeds without any detectable exhaust plumes, suggesting super-advanced propulsion technology, Defense Department officials aren’t invoking intelligent aliens as an explanation, and neither is Shostak. ‘UFOs are very real, as we have recently seen – but that doesn’t mean ET has been violating our airspace,” said Shostak.

• US Navy pilots and the DoD have provided video evidence of fast moving UFOs off of the coast of San Diego in 2004 (i.e.: the “Tic Tac UFO”) and more recently off of the Virginia and Florida coasts. In one case, a UFO nearly collided with a Navy jet off the Virginia coast. The Pentagon’s ‘Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program’ (AATIP) has studied these incidents, and others (including UFO propulsion technology) since at least 2007. Such incidents have become so common that the Navy has enacted a new policy for reporting UFOs.

• Shostak argues against jumping to the ET conclusion, however. And he offers several “common sense” reasons why: First, these Navy sightings are all off of the coast of the continental US. Isn’t this exactly where you might expect to find advanced Russian reconnaissance craft?

• Second, the Navy pilots’ radar equipment had been upgraded. “[W]henever you upgrade any technical product, there are always problems,” says Shostak. Therefore, the sightings might stem from some sort of software bug or instrument issue.

• Third, it is ridiculous to imagine that alien spacecraft would cross vast gulfs of space and time to come here, and then to not offer their assistance, or pilfer our natural resources, or even show themselves. “[T]hey never do anything,” Shostak said.
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• But Shostak is quick not to dismiss the existence of extraterrestrials altogether. He points out that at least 20% percent of the galaxy’s 200 billion stars could harbor habitable worlds. So intelligent aliens could be out there somewhere, or were out there sometime during the Milky Way’s 13-billion-year history. But the odds are long that any UFO witnessed to date was an extraterrestrial craft.

[Editor’s Note]    Seth Shostak’s livelihood is searching for ET intelligence among the 200 billion stars in the galaxy. As the Senior Astronomer and former Director for the SETI Institute, he has become something of a celebrity. The last thing he wants is to discover that ET beings already pervade our reality: around and within this planet, on/within our Moon, on/within Mars, and throughout the solar system. Has Shostak and SETI been duped just like the rest of us? Have SETI’s efforts been futile for decades, and now rendered obsolete? Or was SETI just another Deep State psyop that existed to appease and assure the public that so-called “experts” were on the look out for aliens, while their puppet masters continued to hide the true extraterrestrial presence? If so, that would explain why Shostak insists that there are perfectly logical non-alien explanations for Navy pilot’s reports of UFOs possessing technology that defies known physics. (And why Fox News published this article.) Apparently, Shostak knows more about UFO technology than experienced Navy fighter pilots who roam the skies on a daily basis. Nevertheless, while emphatically denying that ET is already here, Shostak advocates continuing the abstract “search” for extraterrestrial life, light years from Earth. After all, it’s a living.

 

UFOs are very real, as we have recently seen — but that doesn’t mean E.T. has been violating our airspace.

“UFO” refers to any flying object an observer cannot readily identify. And pilots with the U.S. Navy saw fast-moving UFOs repeatedly off the East Coast throughout 2014 and 2015, in one case apparently nearly colliding with one of the mysterious objects, The New York Times reported earlier this week.

Those incidents were reported to the Pentagon’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), whose existence the Times and Politico revealed in December 2017. (Interestingly, those 2017 stories cited Pentagon officials as saying that AATIP had been shut down in 2012.)

Former AATIP head Luis Elizondo, by the way, is involved with a new six-part series called ” Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation,” which premieres tonight (May 31) on The History Channel.

The Navy pilots said some UFOs reached hypersonic speeds without any detectable exhaust plumes, suggesting the possible involvement of super-advanced propulsion technology. Still, Defense Department officials aren’t invoking intelligent aliens as an explanation, according to this week’s Times story — and they’re right to be measured in this respect, scientists say.

There are multiple possible prosaic explanations for the Navy pilots’ observations, said Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI ( Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence ) Institute in Mountain View, California.

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Why Alien ‘Megastructures’ May Hold Key to Making Contact With Extraterrestrials

by Seth Shostak                   April 20, 2019                      (nbcnews.com)

• For nearly 70 years the scheme favored by most scientists in looking for extraterrestrial life on other planets, and that employed by SETI (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence), has been to beam radio transmissions toward celestial objects in space. Radio waves can easily traverse light-years. (The article’s writer is a former director and senior astronomer at SETI.)

• Successful results from our beaming a radio transmission into space is dependent upon the ET society beaming back a response, should they happen to receive it at all. They may not want to reveal themselves. Similarly, we may not want to reveal ourselves to an evil race of ETs.

• An attractive alternative might be in searching for alien structures and large artifacts in the form of massive engineering works constructed by an advanced extraterrestrial society.

• University of Chicago physicist Daniel Hooper recently suggested looking for clusters of stars where an advanced civilization may have moved distant stars into their own orbit as back-up suns. Corralled stars would be easy to spot, reasons Hooper.

• In 2015, astronomer Tabetha Boyajian and her colleagues thought that they’d found a star around which a Dyson sphere had been constructed by an extraterrestrial civilization. It was noted that ‘Tabby’s Star’, 1400 light years away, would dim as the star rotated. Today, scientists believe that the dimming comes not from a mega-structure, but heavy dust surrounding the star.

 

If you’re trying to come up with the best game plan for proving the existence of extraterrestrials, you’ve got plenty of options. Naturally, you want a strategy with a high chance of success, simply in the interests of time, money and a shot at the Nobel Prize.

For nearly 70 years the scheme favored by most scientists has been to look for signals — radio transmissions. That’s the classic approach of SETI (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence), and frankly, it makes sense. Radio can easily traverse light-years, and the technology for detecting it is well known and highly sensitive.

But is looking for signals really the best plan? Is it possible that we’re making the wrong bet?

There’s an attractive alternative: searching for physical artifacts — alien structures. We’re not talking about crop circles or other odd phenomena here on Earth. We’re talking about massive engineering works that an advanced society has constructed somewhere in space.

Why search for artifacts? Because it eliminates the requirement that the aliens have chosen to get in touch — to transmit radio signals our way. Sure, maybe they’d want to do that, but then again maybe they’d rather lay low. If you’re not sure you’re the Milky Way’s top-dog society, you don’t want to bet the farm by assuming that the alpha aliens, wherever they might be, have good intentions. Silence could have survival value.

There’s another point: Picking up an alien civilization’s transmissions requires that the signal reach your telescope at the very moment that you’re pointing it in their direction. This is SETI’s well-known “synchronicity” problem, and it’s been likened to firing a bullet and expecting that it will intercept, head-on, another bullet shot by someone else. Improbable.

In nearly every radio SETI experiment, the amount of time spent listening at any given frequency is but a few minutes. The universe has been around for nearly ten thousand trillion minutes, so SETI efforts are a bit like stepping into the backyard hoping you’re just in time to catch a raccoon stealing the cat food.

Of course, you can believe the aliens have some good reason to spend lots of time transmitting to Earth, but if they’re even a short distance away (astronomically speaking), they won’t know we’re here — there hasn’t been enough time for our radar and television signals to reach them yet, even at the speed of light.

In contrast, artifacts may be lurking in space just waiting our discovery, all night, every night. China’s Great Wall and the Egyptian pyramids are earthly constructions that have existed for centuries. Finding them doesn’t demand much synchronicity.

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Astronomers Are Asking Kids to Help Them Contact Aliens

by Sigal Samuel                   February 21, 2019                          (vox.com)

• In 1974, scientists at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico used the 1,000-foot-wide radio telescope to send a carefully crafted radio broadcast into outer space – a message of zeros and ones meant to alert aliens to our existence for the first time. In honor of the 45th anniversary of that transmission, researchers at the observatory are pondering how to design a follow-up dispatch. Rather than asking their fellow experts, they’ve launched a global contest inviting youth, from kindergarteners to 16-year-olds, to create the New Arecibo Message.

• Says Abe Pacini, a researcher at Arecibo, “Sometimes the scientists are so focused on their topics and they can see stuff very deep but they cannot see very broad… Students know a little bit about everything, so they can see the big picture better. For sure they can design a message that is actually much more important.” Teams composed of up to ten students plus one mentor must register by March 20th. The more diverse the team is, the more points it gets. The contest guidelines recommend using social media to find possible teammates in other countries or regions. The Arecibo scientists will determine which, if any, message will be selected to represent Earth.

• The 1974 Arecibo message was authored by Frank Drake and Carl Sagan and provided basic information about us, like the position of Earth in our solar system, the size of the human population, the shape of the human body, and the double helix structure of DNA. (The information about the nucleotides in DNA has since been shown to be false.) The message was beamed at M13, a globular star cluster 25,000 light years away. (But these primitive radio waves would take 25,000 years for the message to get there.)

• Another determination that the scientists will make is the “risks of exposure” inherent in messaging alien civilizations. Scientists like the late Stephen Hawking and technologists like Elon Musk have warned that communicating with extraterrestrials could pose an existential threat to the Earth if the message is received by hostile aliens. In 2015, SETI researchers, Elon Musk, and others released a statement saying, “We strongly encourage vigorous international debate by a broadly representative body prior to engaging further in this activity.”

• Astronomer and science fiction author David Brin, one of the most vocal critics of an Arecibo Message, says that, “[M]ost of us are much more concerned about the arrogance these zealots are displaying by presuming to speak for a civilization of 8 billion people without ever exposing their assumptions to normal debate and risk assessment.” Brin also noted, “Their instrument (the Arecibo Telescope) is funded by the taxpayers.”

• Douglas Vakoch, an astrobiologist who worked at SETI before splitting off to found his own international organization, Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI), points out that “[A]ny civilization that could do us harm would already know we’re here from our accidental TV and radio leakage.” Vakoch says that the most important aspect of this communication may be our announcing to the galaxy that we are ready to make contact. Known as the ‘Zoo Hypothesis’, this is the idea that extraterrestrials may be keeping an eye on our planet but are waiting for us to indicate that we want to be in contact and that we’re sophisticated enough to merit attention.

• Neither a 1967 Outer Space Treaty ratified by dozens of countries and adopted by the United Nations which laid out an anti-weaponization framework for space, nor a SETI post-ET-detection protocol drafted in the 1980’s, addresses any protocol for actively sending out messages to other civilizations.

• For Brin, all this anxiety over interstellar communication seems like a reflection of our anxieties about communicating with one another. Underneath the question of how to talk to alien minds is a question that’s much closer to home: how to make ourselves understood to other minds right here on Earth.

• On a bulletin board at the Arecibo visitor center where kids were invited to post messages, one child’s misspelled missive was especially poignant: “Earth is destroying it self. Help us! Please help! Send better knowledg.”

[Editor’s Note]   Sending radio waves into space is like traveling across the American continent in horse-drawn covered wagons. This is just another example of mainstream scientists pretending to be on the cutting edge of space exploration when, in fact, our secret space programs are hundreds of years more advanced in space technology. Also, this speculation as to what kinds of extraterrestrials are out there, and the hand-wringing at what hostile ETs might do to our planet if we are “found”, is just more disinformation. We already know that many, many types of ET beings have already been here throughout our human development on Earth, and have been actively interacting with Earth humans since WWII. All of this drama about searching for intelligent life in the cosmos is simply theater to placate a mind-controlled Earth populace.

 

The scientists at Arecibo Observatory, a gigantic radio telescope in Puerto Rico, are some of the smartest astronomers and physicists in the world. But they need help with their next big project — and for that, they’re turning to kids.
In 1974, scientists used the 1,000-foot-wide telescope to send a carefully crafted radio broadcast into outer space, a message of zeros and ones meant to alert aliens to our existence.

It was humanity’s first interstellar message intended to be picked up by aliens. We haven’t heard back from E.T. yet. But in honor of the 45th anniversary of that transmission, the researchers at the observatory are pondering how to design a follow-up dispatch. Rather than asking their fellow experts, they’ve launched a global contest inviting youth — from kindergarteners to 16-year-olds — to create the New Arecibo Message.

The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico

The grand prize? A chance to have your message broadcast into the stars, and to potentially become the first human being ever to communicate with aliens.

I asked Alessandra Abe Pacini, a researcher at Arecibo who helped generate the idea for the contest, why kids are the best people for the job. “Sometimes the scientists are so focused on their topics and they can see stuff very deep but they cannot see very broad,” she said. “Students know a little bit about everything, so they can see the big picture better. For sure they can design a message that is actually much more important.”

But designing messages to aliens is a tricky business, on multiple levels. How do you write a missive that an alien intelligence will be able to understand? Should you avoid including sensitive information about humanity, in case that emboldens aliens to come to our planet and annihilate our species? Should you avoid transmitting messages into outer space altogether, because even just alerting aliens to our existence is too risky?

These questions are at the heart of a long-running, and sometimes very heated, debate among scientists. There’s no consensus about any of them, or even about the meta-question of who gets to decide on the answers.

One thing is clear, though: The stakes are extremely high. As scientists like the late Stephen Hawking and technologists like Elon Musk have warned, communicating with extraterrestrials could pose a catastrophic risk to humanity. In fact, if we send out a message and it’s received by less-than-friendly aliens, that could pose an existential threat not only to the human species but to every species on Earth.

The Original Arecibo Message

When space scientists wanted to celebrate a huge upgrade that had been made to the Arecibo Observatory in 1974, two of their greatest minds stepped up to draft a memo to aliens. It would be broadcast from the telescope during a public ceremony. Frank Drake, who came up with the famous “Drake Equation” for estimating the odds that intelligent life exists in our galaxy, crafted the message with help from Carl Sagan, the astronomer and popular science writer who penned Contact and popularized the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) organization.

Written in binary code — a series of ones and zeros — the message was designed with the hope of being intelligible to any aliens who might be listening. It sought to give them some basic information about us, like the position of Earth in our solar system, the size of the human population, the shape of the human body, and the double helix structure of DNA. When you look at the message in pictogram form, you can see all these components and more.

But this interstellar postcard was directed at M13, a globular star cluster 25,000 light years away, which may help explain why we haven’t heard back yet — it’ll take 25,000 years for the message to get there and the same amount of time for any reply to get back to us. The scientists chose that destination partly because the star cluster was big and relatively close, and partly just because it was within the telescope’s declination range (the part of the sky it can target) at the time of the ceremony.

In other words, the scientists weren’t really aiming to communicate with an alien civilization in their lifetimes so much as they were trying to publicly showcase the fact that their telescope could now do something incredible: For nearly three minutes, it sent a cosmic hello from humanity into the sky, as the audience assembled on site was moved to tears.

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