Larry Klaes tackles the METI question — do we intentionally broadcast to the stars? — in Athena Andreadis’ Astrogator’s Logs today, looking at the pros and cons of an issue that continues to bedevil the scientific community. Of METI advocate Alexander Zaitsev (Russian Academy of Science), for example, Klaes writes this:
In a paper Zaitsev published in 2006, the scientist notes that “SETI is meaningless if no one feels the need to transmit.” Zaitsev also feels that if there are advanced cultures bent on harming humanity, they will find us eventually, so it is in our best interests to seek them out first. Zaitsev sees the great distances between stars and the physical limits imposed by attempting to attain light speed serve as a natural protective barrier for our species and any other potentially vulnerable beings in the galaxy.
David Brin among others takes the other side of the debate in an article tuned for newcomers to these issues. And that’s an important audience. Most scientifically literate people know that we are listening for signals from extraterrestrial civilizations, with varying thoughts on the possibilities for success. But many don’t yet realize that powerful messages have already gone out, not only the Arecibo signal of 1974, but more recent broadcasts from the Evpatoria planetary radar site in the Crimea, and NASA’s Deep Space Network facility in Spain. The more public awareness the issue can generate, the better for balanced discussion.
Comments on this entry are closed.
I left a long comment on Larry’s blog explaining why I believe the METI debate is moot. Compared with interstellar travel, observing extrasolar planets is ridiculously easy and cheap. Therefore any ETI capable of visiting us (and thus of possible concern to us) will almost certainly have already been capable of observing Earth directly for a long, long time. Since we constantly betray our presence through atmospheric and light pollution, the very planet we live on is an unmistakable “WE ARE HERE” METI to anyone who points a large enough telescope in our direction.
Didn’t this topic stir-up a hornet’s nest last time? Everyone has an opinion – mine being They’re already here, if They exist. And by “They” I mean ETIs able to travel interstellar distances in a meaningful way – thus Bracewell probes, mobile habitats and Galactic Patrols have some sort of presence in the EK Belt and the Oort Cloud, if things have developed to that point in our Galaxy.
So what’s the point of worrying? However I still think Brin’s caution and call for more debate is a better idea than Zaitsev’s random blasts of EM into the cosmos.
I’m very happy to have Larry’s post in my blog. He will field questions (and I will chime in as well), so come visit. I couldn’t agree more with Paul that this is an important issue.
Given that we can envision starshade concepts that might one day (fully deployed and using interferometry) offer close-ups of terrestrial worlds, I think tacitus has quite a good point. We might be thirty years away from that outcome or maybe less depending on how much we decide to spend, but it stands to reason that if at our level we can talk about reading biosignatures and one day seeing down to the level of city lights on another planet, a more advanced civilization would certainly be able to do this to us. Webster Cash’s farthest out New Worlds concept is theoretically capable of doing these extreme planetary closeups — this is not, I emphasize, the version currently under NASA study.
I am of the mind that advanced ETI would be way beyond communication technologies such as radio, laser or any other form of EM transmission, unless they kept it as a ‘legacy’ system kept mainly as a tool for listening to primitives like us. Hell, we’d rate only a low-level AI (or something like it) operating on their equivilent of ‘instinct’ to deal with on the off chance of a signal hit.
Of course I’m talking of beings thousands of years beyond us. Any more advanced than that, they probably don’t exist in this Universe anymore.
dad,as to the above…yes i am very sure that you are probably right.as arthur c clarke has put it “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic ” and with aliens such as these i am sure that that is more the rule than the exception! wish we could borrow one or two of their star drives! lol thanks and all the best your friend george
>However I still think Brin’s caution and call for more debate
>is a better idea than Zaitsev’s random blasts of EM into the cosmos.
I guess that both METI debates and METI transmissions is even more
Personally I don’t think a few METI transmissions will be particularly dangerous to local stars – anyone who might be a threat or see us as a threat would know we are here. We’re not too far from developing imaging technology sufficient to survey nearby systems – especially if gravity focus telescopes get developed in 50 years or so.
SETI is doomed if no one signals and everyone listens. You’re right about that. But we also know very little about the wider Galactic environment. Surely more knowledge is a better option before a systematic METI program.
Detection Probability of Terrestrial Radio Signals by a Hostile Super-civilization
Authors: Alexander L. Zaitsev
(Submitted on 17 Apr 2008)
Abstract: Comparison of the total number of the radar astronomy transmissions with respect to that used for sending messages to extra-terrestrial civilizations reveals that the probability of detection of the radio signals to extraterrestrials (ETs) is one million times smaller than that of the radar signals used to study planets and asteroids in the Solar System.
Comments: 2 pages, 2 figures
Subjects: General Physics (physics.gen-ph)
Cite as: arXiv:0804.2754v1 [physics.gen-ph]
From: Alexander Zaitsev [view email]
[v1] Thu, 17 Apr 2008 09:54:29 GMT (139kb)
I really should know better than to post in this thread, but what the heck.
In that document, Zaitsev has failed to factor in the probability of whether the non-METI transmissions will pass through a star system within the range that the transmission is detectable. Since the galaxy is not isotropic, this quantity will vary based on the direction of transmission. For the METI transmissions, this probability is 1 since they are actually aimed at stars. The comparison he performs in this paper is meaningless without taking this into account.
Furthermore, Zaitsev proposes a very naïve view of risk management in that paper: we stop all transmissions or we allow METI. Properly, one should consider all the risks – clearly stopping tracking asteroids is a bad idea, and we can quantify the risks involved from asteroids, the likelihood of various impacts, the feasibility of various mitigation strategies etc. What about METI? Anyone got any good proposals for mitigation in the event of negative consequences from METI, or other risk reduction strategies?
Mirrors on the Moon could catch alien eyes
NewScientistSpace April 29, 2008
Covering half of the Moon with
mirrors could allow for signalling
ET, using a prime-number series, say
Shawn Domagal-Goldman and Jacob
Haqq-Misra of Pennsylvania State
University. The underside of the
mirrors could also be covered with
photovoltaic cells, which when the
mirrors were flipped, could make
electricity, to be beamed by
>>For the METI transmissions, this probability is 1 since they are actually aimed at Sun-like stars
Yes, andy is right — but if
>a Hostile Super-civilizations
are living at above nearest Sun-stars they undoubtedly already detected our Earth…
>>For the METI transmissions, this probability is 1 since they are actually aimed at Sun-like stars.
This probability is 1 if those 14 nearest Sun-like stars, which we were used as a targets during
Cosmic Call 1999,
Teen Age Message 2001, and
Cosmic Call 2003
represent the abode of the Hostile Super-civilizations.
But if THEY are living so closely with Earth,
THEY undoubtedly already detected the Earth…
I was talking about whether the signals passed through a star system, without worrying about whether those star systems were inhabited, since there is as yet no data on the latter quantity.
Furthermore, if HSC exist we are probably doomed anyway even if we don’t engage in METI, so they can be regarded as irrelevant to deciding whether METI is a good idea. Judging by the current level of SETI success it seems unlikely that supercivilisations exist in our galaxy anyway.
The risks we should be considering are from hostile civilisations that are not so advanced as to be true supercivilisations (i.e. they don’t control substantial portions of the galaxy), but still posess interstellar capability.
Nobody, including andy, know where HSCs are living, thus this is a naive statement:
>>For the METI transmissions, this probability is 1 since they are actually aimed at Sun-like stars…
Alexander Zaitsev, could you please reread what I actually wrote, rather than what you think I wrote. You have misread me both in my original post and the one where I clarified it.
“the probability of whether the non-METI transmissions will pass through a star system within the range that the transmission is detectable. Since the galaxy is not isotropic, this quantity will vary based on the direction of transmission. For the METI transmissions, this probability is 1 since they are actually aimed at stars.”
I was talking about whether it goes through a star system. I did not qualify whether the star system in question was inhabited or not.
(In fact, the value 1 is naive, but not for the reason you suggest. It assumes the signal can only go through one system when in fact it can keep going.)
I wonder how many star systems the Arecibo Message will be
passing through on its 25,000 year journey to Messier 13, and
what it might hit on the way after that globular star cluster?
>>In fact, the value 1 is naive…
Alexander Zaitsev, you have consistently in this discussion focussed on a point I did not make, and ignored the ones I did make.
Unless you are willing to show some level of basic reading comprehension, this discussion is pointless.
I’m sure Dr. Zaitsev understands the points you’re making, andy, but he’s registering his continuing disagreement. It’s clear that neither of you is going to be able to talk the other around to his own position, so let’s just take that as a sign of the many issues METI raises and the need to keep the topic open.
DORITOS MAKES HISTORY WITH WORLD’S FIRST EXTRA
Today Doritos makes history, taking the UK’s first step in
communicating with aliens as they broadcast the first ever advert
directed towards potential extra terrestrial life. The University of
Leicester has played a key part in the success of the project.
The transmission is being undertaken as part of the Doritos Broadcast
Project, which invited the UK public to create a 30 second video clip
that could be beamed out to the universe offering a snap shot of life
on earth to anyone ‘out there’. 61% of the UK public believe this is
just the start of communication with ET life and that we will enter
into regular communication with an alien species at some stage in the
The winning space-ad entitled ‘Tribe’ was voted for by the British
public and directed by 25-year-old Matt Bowron. It will officially be
entered into the Guinness Book of Records and will be aired on the
more conventional medium of television on Sunday 15th June on ITV at
7.44pm in the ad break of the final Group B game of Euro 2008.
The message is being pulsed out over a six-hour period from
high-powered radars at the EISCAT European space station in the Arctic
Circle. The University of Leicester has also been involved in the
project from its inception.
EISCAT Director, Professor Tony van Eyken who will oversee the
transmission said: “The signal is directed at a solar system just 42
light years away from Earth, in the ‘Ursa Major’ or Great Bear
Constellation. Its star is very similar to our Sun and hosts a
habitable zone that could harbour small life supporting planets
similar to ours.”
Peter Charles, Head of the Doritos Broadcast Project said: “We are
constantly looking to push the boundaries of advertising and this will
go further than any brand has gone before. By broadcasting the winning
ad to the Universe, Doritos is delivering a world first and Matt
Bowron, the winner, will go down in advertising folklore. We also
shouldn’t be too surprised if the first aliens start arriving on
planet Earth immediately demanding a bag of Doritos.”
The broadcast received praise from Nick Pope, former Head of the MoD’s
UFO project. Nick, a leading authority on UFO sightings and alien
abductions commented: “I support this bold new venture in space
communication. As humanity reaches out to the stars, this broadcast
could lead to us finding the real ET. This is a historic day in our
continuing search for alien life.”
Dr Darren Wright, a New Blood Lecturer of the University of Leicester
Department of Physics and Astronomy said: “The Radio and Space Plasma
Physics Group and Department of Physics and Astronomy as a whole at
the University of Leicester has a very high international profile in
the area of Space Physics.
“An important part of this project is that it provides an additional
component to the Physics and Astronomy Department’s ever increasing
outreach programme. The ad to be transmitted has been created by the
public following a national competition thus increasing public
awareness of space activities.
“The University is particularly committed to outreach programmes along
with the National Space Centre – the brainchild of the University of
Leicester – and engaged in a number of programmes with the wider
For further information on the broadcast, images, to see the advert or
to interview spokespeople including Nick Pope please Jamie Kaye, Kate
Brackenborough or James Regal at Frank PR on 020 7693 6999 or email
Notes to Editors:
The cleverly created advert features a tribe of Doritos escaping from
the pack and sacrificing one of their own to the God of Salsa, as soon
as there are no humans around. It can be viewed online from today at
http://www.doritos.co.uk and will premier on ITV during the final Euro 2008
Group B game on Sunday 15th June @ 7.44pm
*The research for the Doritos Broadcast Research was carried out
online by Opinion Matters / Tickbox.net between 16.05.08 and 22.05.08
amongst a nationally representative sample of 2356 UK adults aged 16+.
Stills of the transmitters that make up the radar in Svalbard in the
Arctic Circle are available from Frank PR, tel: 020 7 693 6999. There
are also stills of various star constellations and space images. All
are free of charge, with no copyright restrictions.
UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER INVOLVEMENT IN PROJECT:
Dr Darren Wright, a New Blood Lecturer in the Radio and Space Plasma
Physics Group, Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of
Leicester has played a pivotal role in realising this project.
He said: “We were asked to comment on the feasibility of transmitting
a TV advert into space and were able to suggest that one of the radar
facilities available to the UK solar-terrestrial physics community,
EISCAT (www.eiscat.com) would be an ideal tool to do this since it can
transmit binary images, has a very high effective radiated power and a
narrow beam width of only 0.5 degrees.
“I contacted the director of the facility, located in Svalbard,
Professor Tony van Eyken, who was pleased to be able to participate.
The EISCAT Svalbard radar is collocated with the SPEAR radar facility
(www.ion.le.ac.uk/spear), operated by the Radio and Space Plasma
Physics Group in the Dept of Physics and Astronomy at the University
“My colleague Dr Nigel Bannister thought of the idea to transmit the
advert to a nearby star (47 UMa, 42 ly distant) known to have a
planetary system, thereby stimulating extra public interest. The idea
of transmitting an ad into space is somewhat controversial but still
of scientific interest. This could be a test for future very long
range communications and it gives us an opportunity to tell the
Universe we are here (in case someone out there is listening – like
reversal of the SETI programme!).
“There could also be potential commercial interest in enterprises like
this. Imagine one day that companies on Earth might wish to advertise
to other planetary colonies within our solar system –for example if
man ever moves to colonise Mars!
Another important part of this project is that it provides an
additional component to the Physics and Astronomy Department’s ever
increasing outreach programme. The ad to be transmitted has been
created by the public following a national competition thus increasing
public awareness of space activities.”
Notes to Editors:
Dr Wright is available for interview- please contact him via: +44 116
2523568 or ring Ather Mirza on 0116 252 3335
Source: This press release is adapted from one issued by Frank PR
WETI: New Search for Extraterrestrials Waits for No One, Er…, Everyone
Written by Nancy Atkinson
September 25th, 2008
In a bold move, astronomers have begun a new search to understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of intelligent life in the universe. Called WETI, which stands for Wait for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, the institute employs an entirely novel approach to achieve its goals. Instead of actively searching for extraterrestrial intelligence, the idea is to simply wait: Wait until the ETs find us. “Waiting is a notoriously underappreciated method in our efforts to search for extraterrestrial intelligence,” says the WETI website. “It is cheaper and less stressful than any other type of research. It is also environmentally friendly and does not cause global warming, terrorism or nuclear conflicts.” WETI’s overall objective? To set a new gold standard for scientifically meaningful waiting, and to provide humankind a new purpose as they wait.
The work of WETI was recently highlighted at a recent Dot Astronomy Conference on Networked Astronomy and the New Media. WETI officials overcame several problems, and were able to present a poster at the conference. Then they went out for drinks, presumably to make the waiting more enjoyable.
The poster introduces the very foundations of WETI, which includes the breakthrough “Brake Equation.” See the poster for more details.
In the near future, whenever they get around to it, WETI will provide a downloadable computer program that will make use of the idle time of your computer to very efficiently wait in the background. “Modern computers can wait several million times each second,” says WETI. “By exploiting this currently unused waiting potential we will collectively create the biggest waiting power ever applied to any problem on earth.”
I contacted the WETI Institute for more information and was pleasantly surprised that I did not have to wait very long for a reply. An Aleks Scholz, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of WETI, responded to my inquiries. When asked about the response WETI has received thus far, Scholz said,” Generally positive, with a slight inclination of being confused at first, plus occasional cases of consternation. So far, however, there were no medically relevant problems related to the responses to WETI.”
Full article here:
October 9, 2008
Messages From Earth Beamed to Alien World
Written by Nancy Atkinson
The powerful opening scene of the movie “Contact” portrays radio and television signals from Earth heading out into space. Then later in the film, shockingly, one of those signals — a televised speech by Adolf Hitler — is beamed back as a reply. Could that really happen? Could an alien civilization “find” us from our inherent noise? Or, if we want other intelligent life to know we’re here, will we have to take a more proactive or aggressive approach? Perhaps we’ll find out.
Today, messages from Earth were beamed specifically at an alien world considered capable of supporting life, the planet Gliese 581c, a “super-Earth” located approximately 20 light years from us. The social networking site Bebo sponsored a competition for young people to share their views and concerns of life on Earth, and the winners’ messages were transmitted this morning from a radio telescope in Ukraine. Bebo was assisted by Dr. Alexander Zaitsev, who says the only way alien civilizations might find us is if we specifically make ourselves known.
501 photos, drawings and text messages were translated into binary format and beamed through space in a four and a half hour transmission by the huge RT-70 radar telescope in Evpatoria, Ukraine, normally used to track asteroids.
The transmission started at 0600 GMT on October 9. Oli Madgett, from the media company RDF Digital who came up with the idea, said the message “passed the Moon in 1.7 seconds, Mars in just four minutes and will leave our Solar System before breakfast tomorrow”. The media company footed the $40,000 (£20,000) bill for the transmission.
The message should reach the Gliese system by about 2029. Any reply to the messages probably wouldn’t reach Earth for 40 years.
Bebo’s intent was to raise awareness for the concerns that young people have for the future of Earth, and to generate interest in space exploration. Bebo spokesman Mark Charkin said, “A ‘Message From Earth’ presents an opportunity for the digital natives of today… to reconnect with science and the wider universe in a simple, fun and immersive way.”
Dr. Zaitsev was a consultant for the project, and is one of the world’s experts in interstellar radio communication and is Chief Scientist of the Radio Engineering and Electronics Institute, at the Russian Academy of Science. His early work helped design and implement radar devices to study Mercury, Venus and Mars and Near-Earth asteroid radar research. Lately, he has focused on interstellar radio messaging, and what he calls METI – Messaging Extra Terrestrial Intelligence.
“The leakage is of commercial television radio is much weaker than coherent sounding radar signals, such as the Arecibo Radio Telescope or the Goldstone Solar System Radar,” Zaitsev told Universe Today. “The leakage is weakly detectable against a background of solar radio emissions. I do not say that any imaginable super-aggressive and powerful civilization cannot detect our leakage, however.”
As opposed to SETI, the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, METI takes a more proactive approach. In his paper “Making the Case for METI,” Zaitsev and two colleagues wrote, “It is possible we live in a galaxy where everyone is listening and no one is speaking. In order to learn of each others’ existence – and science – someone has to make the first move.”
Zaitsev has been involved in several deliberate transmissions to space in hopes of making contact. “Otherwise,” he said, “centers of intelligence are doomed to remain lonely, unobserved civilizations.”
METI, as well as the Bebo project, takes a complete opposite approach from the recently formed WETI – Wait for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence.
*NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL TAKES YOU ON REAL-LIFE ADVENTURES TO THE
RED PLANET AND THE SEARCH FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE! *
*Like Pixar’s /Wall-E/, Join the Adventures of Spirit & Opportunity*
*Two Robotic Rovers Making History While Exploring the Surface of Mars, *
*And Then Join the Out-of-This-World Quest to Make Contact with ET*
*/Five Years on Mars/** Premieres Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 8 PM ET/PT*
*/Calling All Aliens/** Premieres Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 10 PM ET/PT***
(*WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCTOBER 22, 2008*) This November, let the National
Geographic Channel take you on two real Space Age adventures — to the
Red Planet and beyond!
It could be the basis for a sequel to the Pixar sci-fi movie /Wall-E,
/except this is the real-life odyssey of two robots. On Sunday, November
2, 2008, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, NGC brings the adventures of solar-powered
robotic rovers /Spirit/ and /Opportunity/ to the screen in *Five Years
on Mars*, a vivid high-definition visualization of their parallel
missions on either side of the Red Planet. Using photo-realistic
animation based on the actual landscape as captured by the rovers’
cameras, the one-hour special dramatizes the trials and tribulations of
these intrepid explorers while highlighting new scientific information
on the planet’s geology and water history.
Launched in 2003, /Spirit/ and /Opportunity/ were originally expected to
collect data over 90 Martian days, called “sols.” What began as a
short-term science mission looking for evidence of ancient water has
turned into one of the greatest adventures of the Space Age. After
almost five years in operation, they have astonishingly survived,
proving more resilient and luckier than anyone could have predicted.
They’ve trekked miles across hostile plains, climbed mountains, ventured
in and out of deep craters, gotten stuck in sand dunes, survived dust
storms and mechanical failures, and cheated death so often no one will
venture a guess as to how much longer they might last.
*Five Years on Mars* captures the emotional highs and lows experienced
by the scientists and engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in
Pasadena, Calif., who spend their days seeing through the rovers’ eyes
and now think of /Spirit/ and /Opportunity/ in almost human terms.
/Spirit/ is the hard luck rover who trekked for months across a barren
desert, scaled a mountain and lost a wheel before finding anything of
scientific interest. /Opportunity/ is the lucky one for whom everything
has gone right from the moment it landed right on top of abundant
evidence of early Martian water.
“It was like being inside this bizarre Martian mystery novel,” says
Steve Squyres, lead scientist, JPL. “Every sol or two you’d get a new
clue handed to you, and it really improved our understanding of what we
were dealing with here.”
Later that same night, on November 2, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, venture even
further into space and see the remarkable ways scientists are searching
for extraterrestrial life in *Calling All Aliens*. From building the
most sensitive “ear” of all time — the massive Allen Telescope Array —
to sending interstellar CD and text messages, there are myriad ways to
try to make contact.
The one-hour special takes viewers to the Search for Extraterrestrial
Intelligence (SETI) Institute in Mountain View, Calif., where scientists
have activated 42 out of the planned 350 giant radio dishes that make up
the Allen Telescope Array. SETI never had a dedicated instrument like
this to use in the search for ET 24/7 — until now. Funded in part by
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the dishes collect datastreams from
outer space that are then analyzed to determine if they carry any
unusual frequencies. Monitoring computers alert the scientific team when
a particularly strong signal comes through … but so far nothing has led
them to believe that ET is trying to phone Earth.
Jodie Foster’s character in the movie /Contact/ was based on Jill
Tarter, director of the Allen Telescope Array project and considered the
“Grande Dame” of SETI research. SETI lost funding from NASA and Congress
back in 1993, and they are now a nonprofit organization counting on
donations like Paul Allen’s … and anyone who wants to buy a telescope in
“You can buy a telescope and have your name on it,” says Tarter. “The
price tag is $100,000. That’s a big number in some sense, but a very
small number for a radio telescope!”
SETI astronomer Seth Shostak, who hosts a weekly radio show called “Are
We Alone?,” is very optimistic about his colleagues’ ingenuity in
undertaking the search and about the advancements in technology.
“Our galaxy has a few hundred billion star systems, so it doesn’t
surprise that me we haven’t found other intelligent life yet,” says
Shostak. “But the search is speeding up, and I think everybody deep down
inside wishes that the experiment would succeed while they’re still
around to see that happen.”
In Florida, one company claims it can make that happen for just $299.
For that price, anyone can send a CD, text or music message out into
space using a radio transmission device. Across the globe in Moscow,
radio engineer Alexander Zaitsev, in conjunction with METI (Messaging to
Extraterrestrial Intelligence), has sent several messages into space on
a directive from the Russian Academy of Sciences. Also in Russia, they
are planning to take it a step further by sending samples of human DNA
into space to show what we’re made of to any highly intelligent life
forms out there.
But not everyone is eager to make contact. Author David Brin thinks it
is dangerous to try to communicate to a life form that we have no real
knowledge of. He fears ET will come to annihilate the human race.
“I’m not claiming that there are a million deadly horrible probes out
there,” says Brin. “But there is no proof that there are not.”
Also on November 2, in between *Five Years on Mars* and *Calling All
Aliens*, catch an encore presentation of *Naked Science: Life on Mars
*at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Join NASA’s Phoenix Mission to determine if life could
have existed — or can exist — on our closest planetary neighbor.
*Five Years on Mars* is produced by Mark Davis Productions for the
National Geographic Channel. For Mark Davis Productions, producer,
writer and director is Mark Davis. For the National Geographic Channel
executive producer is Howard Swartz, senior vice president of special
programming is Michael Cascio and executive vice president of content is
*Calling All **Aliens* is produced by VIDICOM in association with
ARTE/ZDF, Channel 5 Russia, SBS TV Australia and co-produced with
SPIEGEL TV and Corona Films St. Petersburg. Executive producer is Peter
Bardehle and director is Christian Schidlowski. For the National
Geographic Channel, producer is Lauren Cardillo, senior vice president
of special programming is Michael Cascio and executive vice president of
content is Steve Burns.
# # #
Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington,
D.C., the National Geographic Channel (NGC) is a joint venture between
National Geographic Ventures (NGV) and Fox Cable Networks (FCN). Since
launching in January 2001, NGC initially earned some of the fastest
distribution growth in the history of cable and more recently the
fastest ratings growth in television. The network celebrated its fifth
anniversary in January 2006 with the launch of NGC HD, which provides
the spectacular imagery that National Geographic is known for in
stunning high-definition. NGC has carriage with all of the nation’s
major cable and satellite television providers, making it currently
available to more than 68 million homes. For more information, please
visit http://www.natgeotv.com .
Counting on Beauty: The role of aesthetic, ethical, and physical universal principles for interstellar communication
Authors: Guillermo A. Lemarchand
(Submitted on 28 Jul 2008)
Abstract: SETI researchers believe that the basic principles of our science and the science of extraterrestrial beings should be fundamentally the same, and we should be able to communicate with them by referring to those things we share, such as the principles of mathematics, physics, and chemistry (a similar cognitive map of nature).
This view assumes that there is only one way to conceptualize the laws of nature. Consequently, mathematics and the language of nature should be universal.
In this essay, we discuss the epistemological bases of the last assumptions. We describe all the hypotheses behind the universality of the laws of nature and the restrictions that any technology should have to establish contact with other galactic technological civilization. We introduce some discussions about the limitations of homocentric views. We discuss about the possible use of aesthetic cognitive universals as well as ethical ones in the design of interstellar messages. We discuss the role of symmetry as a universal cognitive map. We give a specific example on how to use the Golden Section principles to design a hypothetical interstellar message based in physical and aesthetical cognitive universals.
We build a space of configuration matrix, representing all the variables to be taken into account for designing an electromagnetic interstellar message (e.g. frequency, polarization, bandwidth, transmitting power, modulation, rate of information, galactic coordinates, etc.) against the limitations imposed by physical, technological, aesthetical and ethical constraints.
We show how to use it, in order to make hypotheses about the characteristics and properties of hypothetical extraterrestrial artificial signals and their detection by existing SETI projects.
Comments: To appear in “Between Worlds: The Art and Science of Interstellar Message Composition,” Douglas Vakoch (ed.), MIT Press, Cambridge MA. This manuscript was originally submitted to the editor of the book on November 2002
Subjects: Popular Physics (physics.pop-ph); Astrophysics (astro-ph)
Cite as: arXiv:0807.4518v1 [physics.pop-ph]
From: Guillermo Lemarchand [view email]
[v1] Mon, 28 Jul 2008 18:33:18 GMT (185kb)
I found this recent article in the Cornell Chronicle about the efforts
of Cornell University to bring prosperity and democracy to a small
and impoverished Peruvian village from 1952 to 1966:
I thought it might be useful to add to the database of what can
happen when a more advanced society interacts with a less
sophisticated one – in this case in order to genuinely help them
rather than exploit or convert them.
The results were not perfect but the town of Vicos did ultimately
benefit from the encounter. But read for yourself.