Will beaming songs into space lead to an alien invasion?


Blackleaf
#1
Will beaming songs into space lead to an alien invasion?

By DAVID DERBYSHIRE
7th February 2008
Daily Mail


It's not as though Nasa is beaming out the Cheeky Girls back catalogue or the collected works of Florence Foster Jenkins.

Nevertheless, scientists warn that transmitting songs into deep space could put the Earth at risk of an alien attack.

They voiced fears that advertising humanity's place in the universe - as happened last week when Nasa broadcast a Beatles track towards the North Star - could attract the attention of aliens who are less friendly than ET.


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Dr Douglas Vakoch of the SETI Institute, which has been leading the search for extraterrestrials, told New Scientist magazine: "Before sending out even symbolic messages, we need an open discussion about the potential risks."

They voiced fears that advertising humanity's place in the universe - as happened last week when Nasa broadcast a Beatles track towards the North Star - could attract the attention of aliens who are less friendly than ET.

Dr Douglas Vakoch of the SETI Institute, which has been leading the search for extraterrestrials, told New Scientist magazine: "Before sending out even symbolic messages, we need an open discussion about the potential risks."

A recording of the Beatles' Across the Universe was last week beamed in the direction of Polaris, also known as the North Star, by Nasa.

SETI - the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence - plans more broadcasts from its base in Mountain View, California.


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For the last 20 years, it has used radio telescopes to scan the skies for alien radio messages.

After getting nothing but static, some of its researchers have decided that listening for aliens is not enough.

Instead, they say, we should be actively sending out friendly signals to the stars.

Dr Richard Gott, an astrophysicist from Princeton University, told New Scientist: "SETI's big mistake is that it's relying on ET to do all the heavy lifting.

"We'll all just be sitting round listening, but nobody's doing any talking."

A group of scientists is calling on SETI to broadcast a simple pulsed signal that reveals the presence of intelligent life on Earth.

Others want more recordings of the type included with the Voyager and Pioneer space probes.

Nasa attached engravings depicting humans and our planet to the outside of the craft, and aboard it put tapes of voices, birdsong, music, and maps of where Earth is.

"It's very charitable to send out and encyclopaedia, but that may short-change future generations," said Dr Vakoch.

Professor Barrie Jones, an astronomer with the Open University, added that there is an "unofficial embargo" about alerting potentially unfriendly species to our presence.

"The chances are slight, but the consequences would be huge - the end of life on Earth," he said.

"When you look at the history of colonisation on Earth, it is pretty bloody awful.

"If they have the technology to cross interstellar space to reach us, they will be so much in advance of us humans that there is nothing we could do to resist them."

However, other astrophysicists point out that humanity has been advertising itself to neighbouring stars since the first commercial radio transmissions of the 1920s.

By now, those early broadcasts will have travelled nearly 90 light years - some 540trillion miles.

Radio waves, like other forms of electromagnetic radiation, travel at the speed of light - around 186,000 miles per second.

This means it would take a radio broadcast four years to reach the closest star, Alpha Proxima, which is just over four light years away.

But at least one physicist at SETI is confident that "first contact" will be more like Steven Spielberg's friendly ET and less like Ridley Scott's horrifying Alien.

Dr Seth Shostak said that if there are any extraterrestrials listening out for us, they will have already had plenty of experience of Earth's culture.

He is sanguine about the possibility of unfriendly attention, saying: "It's quite paranoid, given that the one thing we know about aliens - if they do exist - is that they are very, very far away.

"Military radar signals have already penetrated deep into space and early broadcasts of Star Trek and I Love Lucy are washing over one star system a day.

"If they're listening, they already know we are here."


dailymail.co.uk
 
Locutus
#2
Nope.
 
Praxius
#3
They could come and destroy us and take all our resources, then again they could come along and improve our way of life.

Then again they may not even bother with us to begin with.

I suppose you can't avoid risks in life. Should we just play it safe and keep quiet for a few more centuries until we're capable of space defense/exploration?

With the amount of signals, messages, satelites, internet, and everything else sent across the world and elsewhere, I'm sure if someone was out there looking for us to destroy, they would have found us by now.

Then again, they could be like Vampires where they won't enter our space unless invited. :P
 
Scott Free
#4
The thing is that signals must be very strong to reach any significant distance. The signals these people are sending out don't measure up. I'm pretty sure they are using political and public ignorance to fund this ridiculous research. In short: it's a scam and doesn't pose any kind of real risk - not even slightly. The tragedy in this is that these "scientists" are getting away with this scam.
 
Praxius
#5
Maybe they should have sent out System of a Down's - BYOB.

Even if it did reach their destination and someone picks up the song..... The Beatles' - Across the Universe? Seriously??

Who picked that one? They need to be shot off into space along with it.

They should have picked a classical song, complex song.... or a song from the clubs to get them dancing.

Maybe Right Said Fred's - I'm Too Sexy
 
karrie
#6
The notion that we could ever anticipate who might hear it, or how they might take it, is ludicrous. For all we know, any musical tones beamed into space will one day be picked up by a passing craft and cause a massive reverberation in their systems which causes all aboard to burst into flames, starting a war which wipes earth off the face of the galaxy. The simple act of broadcasting anything may bring about our end, regardless of what we broadcast.

Or not.
 
Zan
#7
I'm more inclined to believe we've already been discovered and been found wanting of being worthy of much more than putting our presence on a back burner to be checked upon in another millenia or two to see if we've progressed beyond dragging our knuckles, beating each other with our fancified clubs and pillaging our planet.
 
Canucklehead
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by Zan View Post

I'm more inclined to believe we've already been discovered and been found wanting of being worthy of much more than putting our presence on a back burner to be checked upon in another millenia or two to see if we've progressed beyond dragging our knuckles, beating each other with our fancified clubs and pillaging our planet.


Cheers to that.

Although on another note, I do have it on good faith that you are indeed an alien spy... hence the blueness of yer skin
 
Zan
#9
Yes well the truth is Earth has become a convenient penal colony for all us bad aliens. Cuz I am yanno...a very very bad alien. I should probably be spanked.
 
Dexter Sinister
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by Blackleaf View Post

... scientists warn that transmitting songs into deep space could put the Earth at risk of an alien attack.

It's already way past too late. Any alien civilization within 50 light years of us with a receiver at least as good as the Arecibo radio telescope knows there's a technological civilization here. If they're looking.
 
s_lone
#11
Maybe one day all we'll get is a message saying:

''Can you keep it down please?''
 
Lester
#12
They're Probably saying "get a load of these A** H***s" twenty quatloos says the bush one kills them all
Last edited by Lester; Feb 7th, 2008 at 11:59 PM..
 
Zan
#13
good gawd... ya don't think... could he be one of 'em?
 

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