Skip to comments.Intelligent Civilizations Rarer than One in a Million
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.
NASAs 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 didnt 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 worlds 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.
Could it be...
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.
As always, we don’t need life we can talk to. We need life we can eat.
It’s been my observation that intelligent humans are rarer than one in a million.
so, that’s why I haven’t found one yet
This sentence illustrates what a bunch of frauds these SETI guys are.
IT’S A COOKBOOK!!!!
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.
That's what the alien invaders said...and that's why they like Earth and humans.
oops, broke me promise, but this could not be left unaddressed.
“They’re made out of meat.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And that’s just on the earth.
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.
That’s why there were no muslims in Star Trek...
Akshul rasho of inhabited planets is
(# planets in universe)/one
Or, based on the singular data point you cited, zero.
You certainly won't find any in Washington DC.
Who do you think the Klingons are modeled after?
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.
Well yes. We are talking about "Intelligent" Civilizations.
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”.
We’re closer to Idiocracy than any of those scenarios.
2700 id’d... Untold quintillions to go...
All the cool advanced civilizations use communicate via quantum entanglement. The coolest ones have the new iTangle - now with more cattle mutilation apps.
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:
I’m sure glad humans picked this one. :-)
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.
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.
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.
I see Michelle decided to hang out with the stormtrooper.
Where can I sign up?
One of my favorite games of all time. Outstanding!
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.
What do they consider “Intelligent Civilizations”? Surely they know the one here on Earth flunks that test.
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”.
What’s this “we’re alone” stuff. Does that mean you think the civilizations here on Earth are “Intelligent”?
You would limit God to one Bible and one planet?
Is there some other Bible I should be aware of?
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.
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.