Sunday, April 16, 2006

NASA launches new SETI project: optical search

I of course, predict this effort will fail:
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Telescope bid to spot alien beams

A new optical telescope designed solely to detect light signals from alien civilisations has opened for work at an observatory in Harvard, US.
It will conduct a year-round survey, scanning all of the Milky Way galaxy visible in the Northern Hemisphere...

... Visible light can form tight beams, be incredibly intense, and its high frequencies allow it to carry enormous amounts of information.

Using only present-day terrestrial technology, a bright, tightly focused light beam, such as a laser, can be 10,000 times as bright as its parent star for a brief instant. Such a beam could be easily observed from enormous distances.

'This new search apparatus performs one trillion measurements per second and expands 100,000-fold the sky coverage of our previous optical search,' said the optical telescope's project director, Paul Horowitz of Harvard University, Massachusetts.
On the other hand, I'd imagine that if it's going to work, we'd discover something pretty early. That would make for an interesting summer.

BTW, Greg Bear wrote the short story "Blood Music" in 1982. At the very end he casually resolves the Fermi Paradox using a biological variant of the inescapable singularity solution. That predates my prior "earliest science fiction explanation" by about five years. I need to add that one to my page footnotes!

No comments: