I was surprised to learn that my squadron mate at the Air Force Academy was using his desktop computer to help search for aliens. It seemed a novel and exciting endeavour. There are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy alone, not to mention the almost trillions of other galaxies. With so many trillions of star systems out there, it was a matter of time before we found something?
That was 24 years ago, and we still haven’t found jack or squat. After four decades with no results, the case for extra-terrestrial intelligence seems dead. With no radio waves out there, maybe we are alone?
Could this be true? Are we alone?
Huge technological advances
The last 40 years brought tremendous technological advances across many fields. Astronomy, evolutionary biology, geology, computer science, optics, and physics all saw huge breakthroughs. Extrasolar planets were found to be common throughout the galaxy. Scientists recently photographed the first black hole. Gravity waves, predicted by Einstein, were physically recorded in 2015. The Large Hadron Collider found the Higgs Boson. And yet, thousands and thousands of SETI microwave and radio wave receivers heard nothing. Complete silence. We’ve detected no ETI signals after 60-plus years of searching.
Why is this? Is there a better way?
In a May 2011 paper titled “Dysonian Approach to SETI: A Fruitful Middle Ground?, the authors propose a different approach to SETI.
American-English physicist Freeman Dyson invented the Dyson sphere and was active in early SETI endeavors. Not to be confused with the billionaire inventor of the same name, Dyson was a proponent of novel methods to search for ETIs, such as searching for archeological artifacts such as the Dyson Sphere.
Current SETI efforts began in 1959 when famed SETI pioneer Giuseppe Cocconi & physicist Philip Morrison published the paper “Searching for Interstellar Communications.” They proposed searching for narrow-band signals in the radio spectrum.
Dr. Frank Drake briefed his famous Drake equation at the first SETI meeting in 1961. Drake reportedly created the equation to stimulate scientific discussion. The founders of SETI were optimistic. There were trillions of worlds out there. Indeed we will find something.
What emerged out of their optimism is considered “orthodox SETI.”
Orthodox SETI assumes biological evolution throughout the Milky Way. This rules out robots and artificial intelligence.
Orthodox SETI is concerned with searching inside our galaxy. Extragalactic communication is a bridge too far.
Orthodox SETI also assumes aliens would want to talk with us. The view has an anthropomorphic bias. Further, it makes sense to reply to messages we receive because there is no real and immediate danger since nothing can travel faster than light. Despite wormholes proposed as possible with our current physics, the best we can hope for is the slow exchange of messages across the vast universe.
This view has proven antiquated and out of date based on recent findings. Among them is that life appeared almost immediately on earth when conditions allowed. Life is also much more survivable than we initially thought. Extremophiles such as tardigrades and sulfur-breathing microorganisms prove how flexible life is.
Advancements in astronomical age detection show that the earth is, on average, 1.6 billion years younger than the surrounding planets. If life springs immediately when conditions allow, and we are the youngest members of a block of billions, then where are all the others.
SETI has failed to introduce itself into human culture and society. It is still not considered mainstream. Dysonian SETI is one alternate method. Freeman Dyson proposed searching for advanced solar system-sized artifacts.
Orthodox SETI assumes only biological life. The authors argue we should look for post-biological entities such as robots, drones, and super AI.
They argue we need to widen our net of possible targets and integrate other possibilities of ETI. What about the many thousands of ETI witnesses here on Earth? What about the many corroborated instances of UFO and UAP phenomenon? What if faster than light travel is not only possible but ubiquitous?
For decades SETI and mainstream science ridiculed UFOlogy and the possibility that orthodox SETI assumptions could be incorrect.
Our physics models are embarrassingly incomplete. A casual review of our current physics models on dark energy and dark matter highlights that humanity still knows much less about the universe than we proclaim to know. Our scientists say, with straight faces, mind you, that we can only see 5% of the universe. Those same scientists also say that nothing can travel faster than light.
Most people now believe that we are not alone in the universe. At the same time, we limit ourselves to incomplete physics models. Maybe it’s time we opened our minds and scientific instruments to other possibilities.
What do you guys think? Will we find aliens? Will we know them when we find them? Why haven’t we found any radio signals from space? Are we alone? We love to hear from you at The Portugal News!
Check out the full paper at my YouTube channel “Chris Lehto”