The aliens will get to SETI in 20 years

09.08.2004

09.08.2004


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Leading astronomer SETI Institute in California, Seth Shostak made a very important prediction

Sergei LESKOV

Leading astronomer SETI Institute in California, Seth Shostak made a very important prediction: progress in computer technology and the rapid development of modern radio telescopes will lead to the fact that in the next two decades, humanity will find intelligent life within our galaxy. With one important addition, if this is intelligent life in general in our galaxy there are somewhere other than Earth. This prediction is at odds with the sad verdict of another major professional leadership in search of extraterrestrial life (SETI — Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR Iosif Shklovsky that the entire universe man of reason alone.

When astronomer Shklovsky was young and ardent love women, he believed that aliens too somewhere nearby. Elderly, sick — and have been certain that the person is lonely. Attitude to the problem of scientific search for extraterrestrial civilizations depends on the attitude of the scientist. Are you an optimist or a pessimist this issue — the issue is not a scientific belief, and health. No hard facts, and signals from space science does not — it all depends on the subjective feelings.

American astronomer Francis Drake 40 years ago proposed a formula to calculate the number of planets with highly developed civilizations and calculated the probability of exit to communicate with brothers in mind. It was headed by Francis Drake still operational program SETI. Composing his famous formula, Drake proposed to consider the numbers characterizing the set of probabilities — the existence of planets around stars, the right conditions for the emergence of life, the emergence of intelligent life itself, of a highly developed civilization, and of course, availability of this civilization to make contact. Calculations on the Drake equation gives an optimistic result in our galaxy at least 200 advanced civilizations. A number of researchers, it should be noted, believe that Drake's formula contains conditional values and therefore different empirical. The formula is not without reason has been criticized for speculative — an attempt to calculate one unknown parameter, replacing it with other equally unknown.

In 1974, a powerful telescope at Arecibo (Puerto Rico, the telescope is still in operation) was sent out into the universe powerful coded radio signal. Earthly call letters were sent in the direction of the constellation Hercules globular star clusters in the number 13. Drake calculated that it was among the many luminaries of this buildup can be a star with planets that are suitable for the formation of off-planet civilizations. Land of the return signal is not received, but could not get because only one way light travels 24,000 years. Can we assume a galactic meaningless conversation — again, a subjective question.

Over the past three decades, humanity has taken a number of attempts to attract the attention of potential brothers in mind. But no answer, greetings never received. In our country, its own program "Galaxy" has developed a well-known radio physicist corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences Vsevolod Troitsky of Gorky. Trinity developed the concept of search space narrow-banded monochromatic signals from extraterrestrial civilizations, themselves, unaware of us could send signals to the universe. The signals from these parameters, according to the Trinity, could belong to a civilization which is on the same technological level with humanity. The observations were made on the 15-meter antenna of the radio astronomy station in Zimenkov. Each subject was studied for 10 minutes. We studied 11 solar-type stars, scattered in a radius of 11 light years from us, and the galaxy in Andromeda 31. But no one object was not found worthy of attention signal. In recent years, the Soviet Union because of the lack of funding for the program of the Trinity were closed, although it has developed a much more promising system of "review", which aroused great interest of Francis Drake. He offered to join the Trinity project SETI. Cooperation between the two eminent scientists began, but soon because of a divergence of views they separated.

Seth Shostak estimates are based on the same old formula of good Drake. However, Shostak subjected to a revision of the formula of his teacher, using new knowledge about the universe and planetary systems, conditions necessary for the emergence of life, and the process parameters civilizations. According to Shostak, in our galaxy, there are between 10,000 and 1 million extraterrestrial civilizations, which can be regarded as a distant radio transmitters. The signal from such an object has been detected, it is necessary to observe and study the spectra of the big stars of the Milky Way, where there are up to 200 billion stars. The time required for this global problem, depends on progress in two areas — in microelectronics and technology of radio telescopes.

As for the microelectronics, the width of the scientific and technical tread calculate easily. According to Moore's Law, the power of computer chips doubles every 1.5 years. This occurs during the last 40 years. But since 2015, according to forecasts, will be saturated too small transistors and microchips doubling capacity will slow down. Anyway, in the lifetime of the present generation will be received and counted the number of the radio emission from stars, sufficient to detect the first alien civilization. However, this cherished asterisk is likely to be at a distance of 200 to 1 thousand light-years from Earth. This means that even the most primitive exchange of messages takes many centuries.

— Today we do not know whether there are extraterrestrials — wrote Vsevolod Troitsky. — We'll never know if you do not move from words to deeds, to practice — the criterion of truth. Otherwise, we will have a place of truth only a wide range of hypotheses, from the pervasive computing center and ending with their complete absence.

And all enthusiasts SETI, though follow the example of the silent Galaxy, are silent on the fundamental question: is it necessary to mankind in principle contact with extraterrestrial intelligence, and will not appear if the event is more dangerous than those of science, from which the company prefers to give up?

08.08.2004

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