Anyone out there??
Well, it’s a nice comforting thought to have, isn’t it? There may be other civilizations around, bit like ourselves, bickering with each other, playing jazz and watching their version of Coronation Street. Just by doing the sums, we know there are tens of thousands of likely planetary systems that could be just right for supporting a form of life that we could recognise, similar to ours, based on gravity, air, water, John Smith’s and all the other stuff to go with it. And, out of that pot of chances, there could be some existences that have a makeup, evolutionary status and sense of humour similar to us.
But what are we looking for and how are we looking for this new neighbour? Let’s take timescales for a moment. The nearest solar system that is thought to be similar to ours is around 30 light years away. Okay, for a start, if we found evidence, whatever that may be, it’s all too late. That existence will almost certainly be long gone and if they just so happened to be probing us at the same time, nice to have seen you were there, shame we couldn’t have met up. That’s the first problem. Whatever we think we found, is purely academic?
The majority of searches for ET’s torch bulb lit finger have been centered around scanning the skies looking for radio transmissions. I thank Bernard Lovell for this and in my next life, I will want to shake his hand. We think that we might pick up a signal that we could understand, in a format we could process and within a spectral range that we can receive and demodulate, decode or whatever. In turn, we beam out signals into the ether in the hope that a “Little Purple People eater” (1959, Shep Wooley, rock n roll tune. Listen to it, classic USA paranoia!) might tune in and say, wow, great Louis Armstrong, but those Earthlings can stuff that East Enders crap. The Human race has evolved over the last 200,000 years let’s say. A total drop in the ocean regarding the number of light years away as I mentioned earlier. Add into this, it is only during the last 140 years of that 200,000 years, we have been able to communicate by varying degrees of electromagnetic radiation – Radio. Toward the late 1800s we discovered how electromagnetic radiation worked and that this could be used to communicate over distance. We started with spark transmitters, which basically was creating an electrical noise that could be picked up a few feet away. That developed into Morse Code. Shame Google of the day mistranslated ICEBERG. As we realised energy could be transmitted as waves, we started to hone down and create tuned circuits. Radio waves at a few thousand cycles could be sent across distances. As time went on, we developed higher frequency systems and we found that signals could be trapped within the earth’s various enegerised atmospheric layers and talking to the other side of the world was easy. VHF, UHF, Troposcatter, radar, 5G are natural progressions of our ability to transmit electronic signals. A significant amount of this energy radiates away from the Earth. Yep may fall upon someone’s ears.
But as said, our ability to look for and send radio “shouts” has only developed in the last 140 years of the last 200,000 years of our existence. Add that into the Light Years distance away bit, we take a wet finger in the air and assume other existences have had the same evolutionary experience, the chances of us bumping into one another is so small my that Sinclair calculator says “NO”. That’s of course we can understand ET speak, I still struggle with Spanish. Apart from a morbid curiosity and a theoretical challenge, is it worth bothering with?
We just do not know enough do we? Taking Quantum physics, we think we know it all, this changes the way possible communications between like minded beings could happen. In my opinion, that is where we need to be ploughing our efforts into. That would take care of worrying about light years, time travel etc. We could transfer ourselves all over the place to when and wherever we wanted. I could nip on the Inter-Galactic Interweb (assuming we have been allocated more I.P. Addresses by then and Windows has updated correctly), search for a gig in a bar in Alpha Centauri (Twinned with Alfoquia), pack my 1935 Selmar alto sax in my backpack and beam myself over. Just in time to be back for work the next day and that’s after frequenting an evening with a 12 legged alien lady and puffed on some ripe cosmic herb.
The “Experts” (ex meaning has been and spurt meaning drip), say the Human race has about 350 years left on Earth before we trash it and us.. So we need to get a move on and have a look for Earth 2.
Seth, Zeta Services, working hard for you.