Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Intelligent Civilizations Rarer than One in a Million
Scientific Computing ^ | Tue, 02/12/2013 - 7:13am

Posted on 03/22/2013 6:37:25 AM PDT by null and void


 UC SETI physicists plan to monitor stars with two transiting planets in hopes of eavesdropping on interplanet communications. Because these signals would be narrowly beamed, they would be stronger and, thus, more easily detected from Earth.

NASA’s Kepler mission has identified 2,740 planets orbiting other stars, but do any of them harbor intelligent life?

Scientists at UC Berkeley now have used the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia to look for intelligent radio signals from planets around 86 of these stars. While discovering no telltale signs of life, the researchers calculate that fewer than one in a million stars in the Milky Way Galaxy have planetary civilizations advanced enough to transmit beacons we could detect.

“We didn’t find ET, but we were able to use this statistical sample to, for the first time, put rather explicit limits on the presence of intelligent civilizations transmitting in the radio band where we searched,” said Andrew Siemion, who recently received his Ph.D. in astronomy from UC Berkeley.

Even with such odds, there could be millions of advanced civilizations in the galaxy.

“The Kepler mission taught us there are a trillion planets in our Milky Way Galaxy, more planets than there are stars,” said UC Berkeley physicist Dan Werthimer, who heads the world’s longest running SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project at the Arecibo Telescope in Puerto Rico. “Some day, Earthlings might contact civilizations billions of years ahead of us.”

Siemion, Werthimer and their colleagues published their findings online in a paper that has been accepted to The Astrophysical Journal.

The 86 stars were chosen last year based on a list of 1,235 planet candidates known at that time. The scientists chose stars with five or six planet candidates in orbit and those that hosted planets that are thought to have Earth-like conditions, including temperatures that allow liquid water. The telescope, funded by the National Science Foundation, spent 12 hours collecting five minutes of radio emissions from each star in a frequency range (1.1 – 1.9 GHz) that on Earth falls between the cellphone and TV bands. They then combed through the data looking for high-intensity signals with a narrow bandwidth (5 Hz) that are only produced artificially – presumably by intelligent life.

Most of the stars were more than 1,000 light years away, so only signals intentionally aimed in our direction would have been detected. The scientists say that, in the future, more sensitive radio telescopes, such as the Square Kilometer Array, should be able to detect much weaker radiation, perhaps even unintentional leakage radiation, from civilizations like our own.

The team plans more observations with the Green Bank Telescope, focusing on multi-planet systems in which two of the planets occasionally align relative to Earth, potentially allowing them to eavesdrop on communications between the planets.

“This work illustrates the power of leveraging our latest understanding of exoplanets in SETI searches,” Werthimer said. “We no longer have to guess about whether we are targeting Earth-like environments, we know it with certainty.”

Coauthors of the study are Eric Korpela, Matt Lebofsky, Jeff Cobb and Geoff W. Marcy of UC Berkeley; Andrew W. Howard of the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii, Manoa; Paul Demorest, Ron J. Maddalena and Glen Langston of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO); and Jill Tarter of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, CA.

The research was funded by a NASA Exobiology grant and donations from the Friends of Berkeley SETI and the Friends of SETI@home. The Green Bank Telescope is operated by NRAO under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities.


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS:
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-72 next last
Better late than never...
1 posted on 03/22/2013 6:37:25 AM PDT by null and void
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: null and void
I wonder why?

Could it be...

REAPERS!?!?!

Rudimentary creatures of blood and flesh, you touch my mind, fumbling in ignorance, incapable of understanding. There is a realm of existence so far beyond your own you cannot even imagine it. I am beyond your comprehension. I am Sovereign.

Reaper? A label created by the Protheans to give voice to their destruction. In the end, what they chose to call us is irrelevant. We simply... are.

Organic life is nothing but a genetic mutation, an accident. Your lives are measured in years and decades. You wither and die. We are eternal, the pinnacle of evolution and existence. Before us, you are nothing. Your extinction is inevitable. We are the end of everything.

Confidence born of ignorance. The cycle cannot be broken. The pattern has repeated itself more times than you can fathom. Organic civilizations rise, evolve, advance, and at the apex of their glory they are extinguished. The Protheans were not the first. They did not create the Citadel. They did not forge the mass relays. They mere found them - the legacy of my kind. Your civilization is based on the technology of the mass relays. Our technology. By using it, your civilization develops along the paths we desire.

We impose order on the chaos of organic life. You exist because we allow it, and you will end because we demand it. My kind transcends your very understanding.

We are each a nation - independent, free of all weakness. You cannot grasp the nature of our existence. We have no beginning. We have no end. We are infinite. Millions of years after your civilization has been eradicated and forgotten, we will endure.

We are legion. The time of our return is coming. Our numbers will darken the sky of every world. You cannot escape your doom.


2 posted on 03/22/2013 6:38:56 AM PDT by KC_Lion (Build the America you want to live in at your address, and keep looking up.-Sarah Palin)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

As always, we don’t need life we can talk to. We need life we can eat.


3 posted on 03/22/2013 6:39:00 AM PDT by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

It’s been my observation that intelligent humans are rarer than one in a million.


4 posted on 03/22/2013 6:39:01 AM PDT by Westbrook (Children do not divide your love, they multiply it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

so, that’s why I haven’t found one yet


5 posted on 03/22/2013 6:39:02 AM PDT by silverleaf (Age Takes a Toll: Please Have Exact Change)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void
“This work illustrates the power of leveraging our latest understanding of exoplanets in SETI searches,”

This sentence illustrates what a bunch of frauds these SETI guys are.

6 posted on 03/22/2013 6:40:54 AM PDT by DManA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: cripplecreek

IT’S A COOKBOOK!!!!


7 posted on 03/22/2013 6:41:43 AM PDT by DManA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: null and void
“We didn’t find ET, but we were able to use this statistical sample to, for the first time, put rather explicit limits on the presence of intelligent civilizations transmitting in the radio band where we searched,”

In some of the radio bands, they found evidence of alien NPR and "Morning Zoo" radio shows but that didn't provide the evidence they were looking for.

8 posted on 03/22/2013 6:44:27 AM PDT by Opinionated Blowhard ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: cripplecreek
As always, we don’t need life we can talk to. We need life we can eat.

That's what the alien invaders said...and that's why they like Earth and humans.

9 posted on 03/22/2013 6:49:36 AM PDT by RoosterRedux (Get armed, practice in the use of your weapons, get physically fit, stay alert!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: null and void
Who are these scientists? Have they never visited the UT?

oops, broke me promise, but this could not be left unaddressed.

10 posted on 03/22/2013 6:57:48 AM PDT by no-to-illegals (Scrutinize our government and Secure the Blessing of Freedom and Justice)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

http://www.terrybisson.com/page6/page6.html

“They’re made out of meat.”


11 posted on 03/22/2013 7:01:39 AM PDT by FewsOrange
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void
the researchers calculate that fewer than one in a million stars in the Milky Way Galaxy have planetary civilizations advanced enough to transmit beacons we could detect.

Color me skeptical.

If you count the number of known civilizations that have been identified in our Milky Way you find there is only one and it's ours. I would like to know how you extrapolate one point to one in a million.

They are guessing. It could be one billion just as easy. Or one in a thousand. Or just one.

12 posted on 03/22/2013 7:02:51 AM PDT by InterceptPoint
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RoosterRedux

I know of one “Intelligent” organism that finds it more pratical to raise cows, pigs, and chickens, than to travel light years away for an exotic snack.


13 posted on 03/22/2013 7:03:13 AM PDT by Gadsden1st
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Gadsden1st

Perhaps they are just bending the space time continuum and are like some humans...explorers. And like armies of old, they eat off the land.


14 posted on 03/22/2013 7:07:07 AM PDT by RoosterRedux (Get armed, practice in the use of your weapons, get physically fit, stay alert!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: KC_Lion

Ping


15 posted on 03/22/2013 7:08:11 AM PDT by plain talk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: KC_Lion

There is probably life on other planets, but I imagine that intelligent life is very rare. I imagine that “advanced intelligent” life being out there is probably 1 in 90 billion trillion.

There are so many independent variables involved for a being to progress to the point of space exploration - it’s mind boggling. And at any point in the line they could eradicate themselves through war, famine, disease, etc.

We could have even been visited before like some of those drawings infer from the Indian scripts, but those guys probably nuked themselves out of existence some 4,000 years ago and never came back.

We’re pretty much alone.


16 posted on 03/22/2013 7:09:09 AM PDT by Noamie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: null and void

Counting on radio waves is problematic.

We had intelligent life on this planet for tens of thousands of years, we’ve had radio for just over 100 years.

Further, the presumption that we will forever onward continue to communicate with broadcast radio waves of sufficient power to reach another solar system may be a false one. It may turn out that there is a very small technological window when high powered radio waves are common to a developing civilization.

Given that there is no reason to assume that alien intelligent life would be restricted by our moral codes, why do we want to force contact? What we really want to find is a planet full of unintelligent life, that we can colonize.


17 posted on 03/22/2013 7:10:15 AM PDT by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void
Pray that there's intelligent life
somewhere out in space, 'cause there's
bugger all down here on Earth.
18 posted on 03/22/2013 7:11:21 AM PDT by Maceman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

And that’s just on the earth.


19 posted on 03/22/2013 7:16:10 AM PDT by Daveinyork (."Trusting government with power and money is like trusting teenaged boys with whiskey and car keys,)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Noamie

Before we colonize space, we must first advance to the point that we no longer have socialists. Otherwise we are infecting the entire galaxy, like small pox in the New World.

I hate to think that the first thing humans would do upon arriving at an alien world is sign up for welfare.


20 posted on 03/22/2013 7:16:30 AM PDT by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: SampleMan

That’s why there were no muslims in Star Trek...


21 posted on 03/22/2013 7:24:25 AM PDT by null and void (If the government is so worried about civil disturbance, why are they working so hard to disturb us?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: null and void

Akshul rasho of inhabited planets is

(# planets in universe)/one


22 posted on 03/22/2013 7:25:14 AM PDT by OSHA (One despises and wants to destroy the United States, the other is a dead terrorist.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: InterceptPoint

Or, based on the singular data point you cited, zero.


23 posted on 03/22/2013 7:25:37 AM PDT by null and void (If the government is so worried about civil disturbance, why are they working so hard to disturb us?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: null and void
in hopes of eavesdropping on interplanet communications

Just like the Obama justice dept wants to do with OUR emails.

==

Could be that those Alpha Centarians are already listening in on our communications. hmmmmmmmmmmmm. There do seem to be a rash of close encounters with 'asteroids' and 'meteorites' lately. Maybe, those rocks are not really rocks, but are just disguises...
24 posted on 03/22/2013 7:26:16 AM PDT by TomGuy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Westbrook
It’s been my observation that intelligent humans are rarer than one in a million.

You certainly won't find any in Washington DC.

25 posted on 03/22/2013 7:26:41 AM PDT by dfwgator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: null and void

Who do you think the Klingons are modeled after?


26 posted on 03/22/2013 7:26:45 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: SampleMan

That’s not going to happen until the Big Guy comes back, then “colonizing” will have no meaning.

Socialism is the political expression of the religion of Humanism which began with the lie “you will be like God, knowing good and evil”,

and will only end when its author is flung into the Pit.


27 posted on 03/22/2013 7:28:18 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: null and void
Or, based on the singular data point you cited, zero.

Well yes. We are talking about "Intelligent" Civilizations.

28 posted on 03/22/2013 7:28:59 AM PDT by InterceptPoint
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: InterceptPoint
Another thing these estimates don't factor in is the temporal dimension. I would not be at all surprised if its common for Advanced Intelligence/Civilizations to rise and then inexplicably fall. A lot may destroy themselves through wars. But a lot of other “intelligent” races may simply de-evolve, or even go extinct, because they embraced policies that were not compatible with the long term sustainment of intelligence. Its the kind of thing HG Wells warned about in “The Time Machine”. I think we will see this play out in human society.

You could also have civilizations that, once sufficiently intelligent, lose their physical form and self evolve to a “higher” level (e.g., pure energy). That is what Arthur C. Clarke prophesied in some of his books, like “Childhood's End” and “2001 - A Space Odyssey”.

29 posted on 03/22/2013 7:29:17 AM PDT by rbg81
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: rbg81

We’re closer to Idiocracy than any of those scenarios.


30 posted on 03/22/2013 7:30:12 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: null and void

2700 id’d... Untold quintillions to go...


31 posted on 03/22/2013 7:31:59 AM PDT by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SampleMan
Counting on radio waves is problematic.

All the cool advanced civilizations use communicate via quantum entanglement. The coolest ones have the new iTangle - now with more cattle mutilation apps.

32 posted on 03/22/2013 7:32:00 AM PDT by Sirius Lee (All that is required for evil to advance is for government to do "something")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: null and void
They were able to evaluate one million civilizations spread throughout the universe?
Exactly where are these million civilizations located?
And how did they communicate with them?

We know there is no intelligent life to be found at this location:


33 posted on 03/22/2013 7:34:35 AM PDT by Iron Munro (I miss America, don't you?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: InterceptPoint

I’m sure glad humans picked this one. :-)


34 posted on 03/22/2013 7:35:12 AM PDT by Conservative4Ever (I'm going Galt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: null and void
Even with such odds, there could be millions of advanced civilizations in the galaxy.

The "recipe" for earth, that magnitude of perfection in what it takes to create life as we know it, intelligent life, probably is in the teens if at all, not in the millions.

35 posted on 03/22/2013 7:35:36 AM PDT by yoe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SampleMan

I’ve often thought that the Human civilization will come to an abrupt end once someone invents a device that can channel entertainment directly into the mind.

Such an invention would give people the illusion they are doing something sexy or heroic when, in fact, they would just be in some sort of trace or sensory deprivation tank.

For most men, their “lives” would turn into one big porn movie. For most women, it would be an endless shopping trip.


36 posted on 03/22/2013 7:36:36 AM PDT by rbg81
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: yoe

The conditions need not be that exact if you allow the life to be something that isn’t identical to human life.

As near as we can tell the only real requirement for “life as we know it” is liquid water.

Everything else is details.


37 posted on 03/22/2013 7:50:13 AM PDT by null and void (If the government is so worried about civil disturbance, why are they working so hard to disturb us?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: Iron Munro

I see Michelle decided to hang out with the stormtrooper.


38 posted on 03/22/2013 7:50:46 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: rbg81

Where can I sign up?


39 posted on 03/22/2013 7:51:07 AM PDT by null and void (If the government is so worried about civil disturbance, why are they working so hard to disturb us?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: KC_Lion

One of my favorite games of all time. Outstanding!


40 posted on 03/22/2013 7:51:21 AM PDT by Personal Responsibility (In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act - Orwell)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Noamie

If the God of the Bible truly exists, it would make no sense if there is life on other planets.....I believe the entire universe, in ways mortal man could never understand, is all in place to support life on this one planet.


41 posted on 03/22/2013 7:52:49 AM PDT by dfwgator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Sirius Lee
All the cool advanced civilizations use communicate via quantum entanglement. The coolest ones have the new iTangle - now with more cattle mutilation apps.

Precisely.

42 posted on 03/22/2013 7:54:34 AM PDT by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: null and void

What do they consider “Intelligent Civilizations”? Surely they know the one here on Earth flunks that test.


43 posted on 03/22/2013 8:03:45 AM PDT by Old Retired Army Guy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

Intelligent life on other planets is not just a problem of distance, but of time.

Starting with distance, about the only way to get from our rather sparsely populated spur of a spiral arm to somewhere with some likely candidates for occupied planets, you need a spaceship that can travel at least 500 times the speed of light. Which means you can visit planets within 500 light years in just a year of transit time.

But here’s the other problem. The universe is about 13.5 billion years ago. Our solar system is only about one third of that, and any kind of life on Earth about one quarter of the life of the universe. Only about 200,000 years for the human species, something approaching intelligent life, and only 200 years of technological society.

So humanity has been able to communicate with someone not on our planet for about 1/67,500,000th of the life of the universe.

Now we need to make a wild guess of how long an intelligent technological species would last, before either a disaster happened that wiped it out, or it either de-evolved or evolved and died out. For an utterly wild guess, how about assuming a liberal lifespan of an intelligent species of 500,000 years?

This would mean maybe 24,000 cycles of intelligent species appearing and becoming extinct in the universe, of which we exist in just *one* of these cycles.

So the odds of any intelligent life being anywhere near enough to us to matter is pretty tiny. But there might be a way to change that.

If life doesn’t come to you, send life to lifeless planets and make it, not by scratch, but by giving it a jump start.

If natural selection is any hint, in a relatively few number of generations the bacteria, plants and animals on these worlds will become novel, adapting to their alien environment. And this can be augmented and accelerated considerably with, dare I say it, “intelligent design”.


44 posted on 03/22/2013 8:05:19 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy (Best WoT news at rantburg.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Noamie

What’s this “we’re alone” stuff. Does that mean you think the civilizations here on Earth are “Intelligent”?


45 posted on 03/22/2013 8:05:56 AM PDT by Old Retired Army Guy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: null and void

46 posted on 03/22/2013 8:13:03 AM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Mater tua caligas exercitus gerit ;-{)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dfwgator
If the God of the Bible truly exists, it would make no sense if there is life on other planets.....I believe the entire universe, in ways mortal man could never understand, is all in place to support life on this one planet.

You would limit God to one Bible and one planet?

Interesting.

47 posted on 03/22/2013 8:15:24 AM PDT by null and void (If the government is so worried about civil disturbance, why are they working so hard to disturb us?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: null and void

Is there some other Bible I should be aware of?


48 posted on 03/22/2013 8:16:13 AM PDT by dfwgator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]

To: SampleMan

I hear ya but ... I see no way to escape eventual world-wide communism and central control which would be fully in place before any such colonization. In mneantime ... we fight.


49 posted on 03/22/2013 8:17:28 AM PDT by plain talk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: dfwgator
Is there some reason OUR Bible, and it is ours made specifically for us by God Himself, must be the only Bible in the universe?

It is ours, custom made for our salvation, and only our salvation.

Any mention of other creations and other covenants in our Bible would serve no useful purpose, would only serve to confuse rather that illuminate.

The Bible makes no mention of an entire "New World" half a planet away from the Holy Land, why would it need to discuss life in other solar systems?

On a human scale such was totally irrelevant at the time of the Patriarchs, remained so for the Apostles, and still isn't of much relevance even today.

I'm pretty sure that when it becomes an issue, we'll get a second update.

50 posted on 03/22/2013 8:29:30 AM PDT by null and void (If the government is so worried about civil disturbance, why are they working so hard to disturb us?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 48 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-72 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson