Intelligent Alien Life May Be Found by 2040, SETI Astronomer Believes

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Intelligent Alien Life May Be Found by 2040, SETI Astronomer Believes

galaxies

Senior Astronomer Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute believes that intelligent alien life may be found by 2040.

The SETI Institute has been searching for extraterrestrial intelligence for decades, and the organization's Senior Astronomer Dr. Seth Shostak believes the search may yield results in a couple more. Speaking at a talk at the 2014 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) symposium at Stanford University, Shostak explained that the odds are good that alien life will be found in the next 20 years.

"I think we'll find E.T. within two dozen years using these sorts of experiments," said Shostak. SETI has thus far scanned a few thousand star systems in search of signs of intelligent life, but in another 24 years, that number will rise to approximately one million. "A million might be the right number to find something."

"The bottom line is, like one in five stars has at least one planet where life might spring up," Shostak said. "That's a fantastically large percentage. That means in our galaxy, there's on the order of tens of billions of Earth-like worlds."

The SETI Institute seeks to detect alien civilizations that have developed to the point of being technologically capable of sending electromagnetic signals out into space. But Shostak views the hunt for alien life as a three-way race: his own team seeks intelligent life, other scientists search our solar system for simple organisms, and other researchers focus on finding signs of microbial life on planets in nearby solar systems.

"I think any of these horses has a pretty good chance of succeeding - just my opinion - a pretty good chance of succeeding in the next 20 years, say," Shostak said during the NIAC talk.

Source: Space

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Man it's sure going to be funny once people finally see space isn't full of Star Trek forehead-aliens. I would die happy if I just got to witness that enormous blow to human-ego.

I'm also really curious to see the fallout in all the religions around the world. Books and movies could be made about this alone.

What if they're not using electromagnetic signals?

If there are advanced aliens, they could have any number of way of communicating or whatever that we've never even imagined.

xPixelatedx:
Man it's sure going to be funny once people finally see space isn't full of Star Trek forehead-aliens. I would die happy if I just got to witness that enormous blow to human-ego.

I've always thought it'd be incredibly mind-blowing if we finally find aliens and...they're humans. Like, damn-near identical to us in every way. That somewhere out there there's an Earth 2 where homo sapiens evolved same as we did. It'd be pretty boring, yes, to finally find alien life and it turns out to be more humans...but how frickin' ridiculous would that be? What are the astronomically small chances of that happening? That's why I think it'd be mind blowing. :3

The overuse of weasel-words in this article makes the whole thing a bit silly. We "may" find aliens by the time I go to work this afternoon, maybe lay off the hyperbole Mr Shostak...

Zhukov:
What if they're not using electromagnetic signals?

If there are advanced aliens, they could have any number of way of communicating or whatever that we've never even imagined.

All I can think is: We've been using such technology for how long?

Sure, there may be some alien life that predates us by a fair number of years, but how long ago did they develop the technology? How long would it be before we would detect such signals if they started beaming them out today? Would we even recognize that such a signal was something alien if we can't comprehend the signal? I kinda doubt the aliens will speak a language we know, like English.

I am doubtful of these claims. And I am certain that alien life exists out there. Likely even intelligent alien life.

Saltyk:

Zhukov:
What if they're not using electromagnetic signals?

If there are advanced aliens, they could have any number of way of communicating or whatever that we've never even imagined.

All I can think is: We've been using such technology for how long?

Sure, there may be some alien life that predates us by a fair number of years, but how long ago did they develop the technology? How long would it be before we would detect such signals if they started beaming them out today? Would we even recognize that such a signal was something alien if we can't comprehend the signal? I kinda doubt the aliens will speak a language we know, like English.

I am doubtful of these claims. And I am certain that alien life exists out there. Likely even intelligent alien life.

If we did intercept an Alien EM signal it would be rather obvious, chances are we wouldn't be able to understand it unless it was designed to be interpreted on purpose but we would know it was an artificial signal because it would almost certainly be (or contain) a narrow band transmission. If it was an interstellar hello signal intended to reach another civilisation it would most likely be based around mathematics, whatever their language and whatever they call them the maths behind the laws of Thermodynamics, Newtons laws and Euclidean geometry and others like them would be a universal language for any technologically advanced race.

So they are going to reveal what they have known for years by 2040?

I am only half kidding.

xPixelatedx:

I'm also really curious to see the fallout in all the religions around the world. Books and movies could be made about this alone.

That IS a question, isn't it? Has anyone besides the Catholic Church spoken out about alien life?

xPixelatedx:

I'm also really curious to see the fallout in all the religions around the world. Books and movies could be made about this alone.

They would simply claim that God made the whole universe and everything in it, just as they do now. Since God is the name of their god, they can simply say that whatever god the aliens worship is the same god as their god.

If the aliens worship no god, there will be no dispute. It will be no different than atheists on earth.

Were you hoping for some big revelation?

If that is the case then we better have a strong orbital defense capability because until they prove otherwise I will assume that all Xenos are hostile.

Zhukov:
What if they're not using electromagnetic signals?

If there are advanced aliens, they could have any number of way of communicating or whatever that we've never even imagined.

Or they may be smart enough not to return our texts.

J Tyran:

If we did intercept an Alien EM signal it would be rather obvious, chances are we wouldn't be able to understand it unless it was designed to be interpreted on purpose but we would know it was an artificial signal because it would almost certainly be (or contain) a narrow band transmission. If it was an interstellar hello signal intended to reach another civilisation it would most likely be based around mathematics, whatever their language and whatever they call them the maths behind the laws of Thermodynamics, Newtons laws and Euclidean geometry and others like them would be a universal language for any technologically advanced race.

They'd probably speak English though, they do in Star Trek. Seriously though, the problem I see is that there may be intelligent life which hasn't reached our level of technology yet. They may be like we were about 300 years ago and be just intelligent enough to realize how much fun war is. So we might actually miss a potentially intelligent species because we assume they have to have reached our level of technology.

Or if we want to add some spaaaace magic they communicate with telepathy and they have anti electromagnetic fields that redirect out signals making them invisible. Oh, and they're also hiding on the moon which is really a space ship that makes up the base for the invading force. They're all humanoid though.

so were skipping the whole finding any alien life thing and going right for the intelligent ones? good move i always wanted to be some aliens pet.

BTW will anyone else be as sad as i will be if we dont find humanoid aliens? after all it has been mans dream for thousands of years to seek out new life and new civilizations and have sex with them. That is what we did with the neanderthal and probably other similar species as well as having references to our intentions in various media such as star trek and doctor who.

Yopaz:

They'd probably speak English though, they do in Star Trek.

No, you only hear the Romulan speaking English. The lore is that the Universal Translator is doing it's job. Of course we could poke many holes in that like "Why do their lips match their English dialogue" or "Where is the Universal Translator when they are talking to a Klingon face to face not aboard a federation vessel".

iblis666:

BTW will anyone else be as sad as i will be if we dont find humanoid aliens? after all it has been mans dream for thousands of years to seek out new life and new civilizations and have sex with them.

They don't need to be humanoid though...
Tentacles are perfectly acceptable.

xPixelatedx:
Man it's sure going to be funny once people finally see space isn't full of Star Trek forehead-aliens.

OT:
Yeah, he's using a lot of wild speculation and opinion, but I don't care. I hope with all my heart that he is right, realistic probabilities be damned.

And besides, 1 million is a pretty decent sized number. We gotta find something.

WeepingAngels:

Yopaz:

They'd probably speak English though, they do in Star Trek.

No, you only hear the Romulan speaking English. The lore is that the Universal Translator is doing it's job. Of course we could poke many holes in that like "Why do their lips match their English dialogue" or "Where is the Universal Translator when they are talking to a Klingon face to face not aboard a federation vessel".

Sorry, bad joke. I don't follow Star Trek so I wouldn't know any of this.

Yopaz:

J Tyran:

If we did intercept an Alien EM signal it would be rather obvious, chances are we wouldn't be able to understand it unless it was designed to be interpreted on purpose but we would know it was an artificial signal because it would almost certainly be (or contain) a narrow band transmission. If it was an interstellar hello signal intended to reach another civilisation it would most likely be based around mathematics, whatever their language and whatever they call them the maths behind the laws of Thermodynamics, Newtons laws and Euclidean geometry and others like them would be a universal language for any technologically advanced race.

They'd probably speak English though, they do in Star Trek. Seriously though, the problem I see is that there may be intelligent life which hasn't reached our level of technology yet. They may be like we were about 300 years ago and be just intelligent enough to realize how much fun war is. So we might actually miss a potentially intelligent species because we assume they have to have reached our level of technology.

Or if we want to add some spaaaace magic they communicate with telepathy and they have anti electromagnetic fields that redirect out signals making them invisible. Oh, and they're also hiding on the moon which is really a space ship that makes up the base for the invading force. They're all humanoid though.

Aliens could be ahead of us in technological development or they may be behind, there has almost certainly been many, many species that are extinct too. Either they enjoyed wars a bit to much or they reached our level of technology before a solar system sized catastrophe or a comet strike wiped them out, just think about how many Gamma Ray bursts that have been detected and the area size they affect (as well as the Supernova that causes them). Then you have how unstable planets themselves tend to be, the universe is a dangerous place.

Rhykker:
nearby solar systems.

For the record, there are no nearby solar systems.

Our system is the Solar system, that's its name.

The nearest system to us is the Alpha Centuri System.

From there the list goes on, but none of them are a "solar system".

Zhukov:
What if they're not using electromagnetic signals?

If there are advanced aliens, they could have any number of way of communicating or whatever that we've never even imagined.

Possible, but unlikely. Long-distance communication requires a fast medium of transmission, and nothing's faster than the speed of light. Since science has yet to discover anything else that reaches that speed, an alien civilization that has advanced to at least the technological level that we reached in the last century would most likely use electromagnetic radiation to communicate with each other across long distances.

2040? So we have only 26 more years to develop our weapons systems to counter the alien threat?

what is making them so optimistic all of a sudden? is there some new search method we dont know about. sounds like a search for funding to me. it would be cool if it were to succeed. but this seemed like a press confrence announcing the status quo

God May Be Proven To Exist By 2050

The 420Pineal association claims they have reached a state of enlightenment never before achieved in human mysticism. The believe with the speed of their progress they will be able to meet with god and bring back definitive evidence of his existence in the next 40 years.

"Like we have gone really deep into the like inner universes man...we're totally going to find him in the next 40 years man" They report they have gone through a few thousand dimensions of the mind now, but by 2050 are estimating that number will reach the millions.

Swell.

I mean, yeah, by the time any signs of intelligent life reaches us the entire civilization that sent it will be long dead, but at least there'll be more funding.

Interesting, so the alien overlords are willing to "let" us "know" of the possibility of E.T. life existing? What a suitable bait-and-switch ploy... Perhaps they'll even masquerade as the "unknown" race to make "First Contact" in order to keep up the charade, and benignly explain away a sudden surge of aliens in our midst.
Oh no I'm not paranoid, not at all. Its not like I'm one of them, misdirecting you all by posting paranoid conspiracy theories to further discredit our existence among you silly monkey-folk. I mean that would be stupid, wouldn't it. Of course you would never know if I was lying or not until the reckoning age comes and you pitiful monkey-meatbags bow and scrape before the almighty whose name shall not be spoken aloud by the unclean.

Sir Thomas Sean Connery:

iblis666:

BTW will anyone else be as sad as i will be if we dont find humanoid aliens? after all it has been mans dream for thousands of years to seek out new life and new civilizations and have sex with them.

They don't need to be humanoid though...
Tentacles are perfectly acceptable.

image

Seriously though, even if there is an intelligent species anywhere near enough to us to have a realistic chance of either of us seeing their transmissions, there's a few problems with the entire concept of SETI:

1. We assume that they will be at our level of technology and using the same methods of communication as we do. This is VERY unlikely, much much most likely is that they would either be using a method of communication more advanced than ours and thus undetectable to us and probably to them or be behind us in technology and thus not have any means of detecting or transmitting signals to us.

2. That we would be able to effectively capture and correctly interpret said transmissions if they were to send any and vise versa.

3. That said aliens would be interested at all in contacting us in any way.

I would say SETI is a waste of time and money on a complete shot in the dark that would be better spent on just about anything else, but at least when you shoot something in the dark you know there's something to shoot at, SETI doesn't even have that much. The entire idea of SETI is flawed from the outset.

The real question is: will they be able to play starcraft 3 with us? Imagine the lag on that!

immortalfrieza:
tentacle snip

You know, the concept may be pointless and dumb, but the very idea excites the shit out of me.

And it is somewhat similar to a shot in the dark. There IS intelligent life out there. It isn't a question. SETI still probably won't find anything, but I don't care. Space makes me too happy to care. Aliens and the final frontier are some of the only things I absolutely refuse to be cynical or realistic about.

Besides, if the money wasn't being spent on this, it would probably be spent on something less useful and more destructive.

Doesn't time play a massive factor in the galactic lottery wheel here? My understand is that when they look at things in space we're looking back in time by however many light years the object is away, so it would be the same with these singles wouldn't they?

So imagine there's another species out there as intelligent as us. But after 1000 years of exploitative technology & war ruining the planet, they all went extinct. Unfortunately, this happened a million years ago, and to have recieved the last single they sent hit our planet in 1850AD when we didn't have the technology to receive it.

So not only do we have to pick out the right star among billions, we have to get it at the right moment when the time span can stretch billions of years.

I'm worried about what we'd do if they come here. I mean, we still have racists and homophobes and xenophobes. We can barely tolerate a different sexual orientation, never mind being from a different planet trillions of miles away. Or hundreds of lightyears. Fuck, whatever measurement.

Lately, I've been thinking Orson Welles might have had the right idea with War Of The Worlds, a story where the aliens are ultimately wiped out because of Earth germs.

Just about every planet out there will have the potential to have evolved completely differently than Earth. The significance of this being of such severity that our immune systems might be so absolutely incompatible that they don't even have a chance to learn how to defend the body from alien microbes (and possibly vice versa). By landing on an alien planet, you'd basically be trying to rush billions of years of immune systems that evolved alongside pathogens in an instant - that's not going to happen; it's suicide.

This means it's not the life-bearing worlds we should be excited about, from a colonization perspective; colonizing a dead, sterile world is much, much less work than trying to move into one filled with species of microbes that our immune system is billions of years out of alignment of knowing what to do with.

So, if we live in such a busy universe, as many scientists speculate, here's you answer as to why we haven't been invaded yet: because life-bearing planets are nothing more than a massive bio-hazard to aliens. It's nasty enough that they wouldn't even want a planet in the same solar system, if they could help it!

The funny thing being that this is a real knee to the groin for most modern science fiction stories, which usually rush to have the protagonists sleeping with aliens just to enhance the sale potential of the novel.

Hes not technically wrong. we may find life by that date. we may find it any day actually. there is always a chance. when we will definatelly find it - noone can say.

ExtraDebit:
The real question is: will they be able to play starcraft 3 with us? Imagine the lag on that!

They will play Zerg Rush on us in real life i think.

So his entire support for this claim is that "a million might be the right number to find something"? That's a really well-reasoned scientific approach right there.

kiri2tsubasa:
If that is the case then we better have a strong orbital defense capability because until they prove otherwise I will assume that all Xenos are hostile.

What counts as a strong orbital defense capability, though? The capabilities of the aliens would be totally unknown.

...

Actually, not true, we'd know they have the technology to get here, which puts them rather ahead of us.

To those of you saying that there's no way any other life out there or that the kind of communication they have won't exist or something... look up Drake's Equation. It's an equation meant to give a rough idea (Yes, based on estimates and what little known knowledge we have) of just how many intelligent civilizations there are out there broadcasting detectable communications RIGHT NOW. The exact number can indeed be wildly variable depending on how optimistic or pessimistic you are with certain numbers, and whether you add certain other numbers that you think are important or not, but it can prove interesting.

No matter what, though, the answer will ALWAYS equal one or higher.

Time for the skrull invasion!! :P

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