Proof of aliens could come within 25 years, scientist says

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PostTue Aug 17, 2010 8:07 pm » by Abyssdnb

Proof of extraterrestrial intelligence could come within 25 years, an astronomer who works on the search said Sunday.

"I actually think the chances that we'll find ET are pretty good," said Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute in Mountain View, Calif., here at the SETIcon convention. "Young people in the audience, I think there's a really good chance you're going to see this happen."

Shostak bases this estimation on the Drake Equation, a formula conceived by SETI pioneer Frank Drake to calculate the number (N) of alien civilizations with whom we might be able to communicate. That equation takes into account a variety of factors, including the rate of star formation in the galaxy, the fraction of stars that have planets, the fraction of planets that are habitable, the percent of those that actually develop life, the percent of those that develop intelligent life, the fraction of civilizations that have a technology that can broadcast their presence into space, and the length of time those signals would be broadcasted.

Reliable figures for many of those factors are not known, but some of the leaders in the field of SETI have put together their best guesses. Late great astronomer Carl Sagan, another SETI pioneer, estimated that the Drake Equation amounted to N = 1 million. Scientist and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov calculated 670,000. Drake himself estimates a more conservative 10,000.

But even if that lower value turns out to be correct, at the rate they're going, it wouldn't take scientists too long to discover an alien signal, Shostak said.

"This range, from Sagan's million down to 10,000 that's the range of estimates from people who have started and worked on SETI," said Shostak. "These people may know what they're talking about. If they do, then the point is we trip across somebody in the next several dozen or two dozen years."

The SETI quest is set to take a leap forward when the Allen Telescope Array, a network of radio dishes under construction in northern California, is fully operational. By 2015, the array should be able to scan hundreds of thousands of stars for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence, Shostak said.

But while humans might be able to discover an alien signal within that timeframe, interpreting what ET is trying to tell us could take much, much longer.

Shostak admitted such a task would be very difficult. An alien civilization may be as technologically advanced compared to us as Homo sapiens are to our hominid relatives Neanderthals.

"We could give our digital television signals to the Neanderthals, and theyll never figure it out. And they're not stupid," he said.

Yet simply having proof that we are not alone in the universe would likely be a world-changing achievement, Shostak added.
Image "Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it."

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PostTue Aug 17, 2010 8:25 pm » by lamonema

If this is truely being said, then they already have proof. They know we know, but their like a hyper kid with a chocolate bar and you can't have a piece. I think they just like to play the prediction game of existance they already have, so they can look like f#@kin geniouses. They will never reveal the truth until we beat it out of them, or until they are technologically benefitted. Right now they are sucking the masses dry in order to reverse engineer what they have been working on for decades. They will reveal the truth once they know the truth will instill absolute obiediance from the masses through shock. Whether it would be for the benefit of the elite or the masses is the big question. Now who wants to put faith is such a possible surprise, when we know what power can do to the minds and hearts of man? just sayin :mrgreen:

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PostTue Aug 17, 2010 8:40 pm » by Thruster

I am not waiting ANOTHER 25yrs, these people will have to get their act together!!
If I don't get disclosure within the next year I will be forced to write a very strongly worded letter to the relevant authoraties, and they won't like that very much. (Humph!) :rtft:

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