Recently, the Network appeared information that literally blew up the Internet. Researcher Silvano Colombano, NASA published a document entitled “New Assumptions to Guide the SETI Research“. The report contains some very controversial statements, but the media as one began to repeat: “Scientists from NASA claim that Earth could be visited by aliens”; “Tiny aliens could visit the Earth.” But, in fact, said the expert of NASA? Let’s deal.
Let’s start with the fact that Colombano, working in the Department of intelligent systems of space Agency NASA, do allow that aliens might visit the Earth. But in fact, the published document is another analysis of the Fermi paradox. In other words, the scientist asks: where are all the aliens?
Speaking from the point of view of the scale of space must be many places where you could live complex and intelligent life forms – the universe is infinitely large. If we talk numbers, then, for example, in one program “Kepler”, scientists have discovered 3848 confirmed planets. Among them there are candidates in the system, the age of which is about 11.2 billion years. The age of our own Solar system — about 4.5 billion years. In other words, it is likely that at least one of these very ancient systems have an earth-like planet whose age is 6 billion years older than our Earth.
Let’s imagine what could be life on this planet. A crucial factor in this issue, according to Colombano, will play time (in our case 6 billion years). The scientist indicates that the technological evolution on Earth is going on with the pace that we are not able to predict what will await mankind over the next thousand years, not to mention the 6 billion years.
Conclusion Colombano: our view of where we could be aliens and what technologies can play a crucial role in their detection is based on four misconceptions. And overcoming these misconceptions will help us to finally find extraterrestrial civilizations. Brief characteristics of these misconceptions are presented below.
Interstellar travel is impossible or very unlikely
If we are talking about how far we can travel in the Universe, the answer to this question will be biased for a number of reasons. And the main is the limitations of our technology and our understanding of physical laws at the current time. The farthest he could get man to fly around the moon in the 70-ies. We do not have the technology to travel faster than the speed of light. We don’t even have a nuclear space engines. Yet.
However, the aliens, these technologies may already be available. So obvious for us will be to find such things as giant space ships with ion engines that can fly past the Earth. Colombano insists that our limitations in resources and imagination should not dictate to us the understanding how can be controlled by the space/energy and space/time.
Radio waves are and will be the main form of communication for thousands and millions of years
While we have not found a way to travel through space faster than the speed of light, so try to look for intelligent life, relying on methods that allow us to communicate at a very far distance. This aspect is one of the reasons why SETI (Institute of search of extraterrestrial civilizations) continues the search for radio waves from space.
Even if radio waves as a method of communication that will exist in the distant future (or they are technologically advanced aliens), it is likely they will be able to carry much more information than ways to move now, said Colombano. In other words, “current, we” simply will not be able to identify them is to separate the communication from the “background noise”. According to the scientist, this form of communication in the future may become obsolete. A more advanced civilization will probably choose other ways of communicating over long distance, those which we are not even able to imagine.
Reasonable civilization will be based on the carbon form
According to the author of the report, is one of the biggest misconceptions. We have long relied on our notion that life in the Universe is based on certain ingredients, without which it will not be possible. We just stubbornly ignore the possibility that the Universe can exist very different forms of life. Our ecosystem-based carbon, said Colombano may be just a tiny first step in an ongoing evolution, which may appear reasonable life form vastly superior to us and at the same time (or never in principle) not based on carbon.
Very convenient to assume that all life in the Universe could appear in situations similar to the one in which our life in the Solar system. But the likelihood that the evolution of each organism will be the same and follow the same rules – is unlikely. From this perspective, our interest and attempts to find life must go beyond the so-called habitable zones of stars. It is difficult to imagine how it will look life forms living in such conditions, how they will behave and or what methods of communication will be used, but they just are not like us. Even remotely.
In fact, the above aspect can affect everything else in the list. For example, the same technologically advanced civilization, based not on carbon, can have access to interstellar travel, because will not be constrained by those limitations that we possess ourselves, for example, life expectancy or physical dimensions.
We did not attend and did not attend
When searching for extraterrestrial life, said Colombano, largely ignored the potential relevance of the UFO phenomena, mainly due to the fact that the majority of these messages do is “fake”, and among the companies there is a clear lack of interest and scepticism in relation to these events. But instead of such a position, the expert said that scientists should focus on finding the real “signals” amidst all this “noise”.
The bulk of “noise” in the reports of UFOs can hide even though small, but real “signals” that indicate the phenomena that cannot be explained, and therefore, they should not be ignored. If we can agree to, and accept a new set of assumptions about what forms of higher intelligence or technologies we may find some of these phenomena can be used as concrete examples for these assumptions or, at least, to stimulate deeper analysis and investigation.
What needs to change in that it moved from a dead point?
Colombano gives several suggestions that would enable a more “aggressive” approach to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence under the SETI program.
First, physics should pay more attention to “speculative physics” — still based on real theories and evidence, but allows us to expand our understanding of space-time and energy. At the same time scientists need to more actively engage the technical personnel, who examined the prospects for the development of certain technologies, especially those relating to artificial intelligence, as well as questions exploring the relationship of man and machine. In addition, the help and the discussion should involve social scientists who could, if not explain then at least to imagine what society could arise within such technologically advanced civilizations, and by what means of communication these companies could use. Last but not least it is necessary to pay more attention to the UFO phenomena, indeed worthy of study in the context of the low ratio of “signal/noise”.
What of all this we can conclude? Given all the above – including the fact that life in space can take a completely unknown form, we again are faced with new questions. As new approaches, views, and perception of certain probabilities will help us in establishing contact with extraterrestrial civilizations, quite unlike those that we had imagined for all eternity? In this we also have to understand, as this is another obstacle in the way of our discoveries.
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