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Listening for Aliens, with Carolyn Porco - StarTalk All-Stars

2016-08-02 | 🔗
Explore SETI and the Breakthrough Listen Initiative, the most comprehensive search for extraterrestrial intelligence ever, with host Carolyn Porco, co-host Chuck Nice, and Dan Werthimer, the Initiative’s principal investigator and SETI@home co-founder.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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on all the time, but also the whole document also seem to find the best. My friends of the shortcoming backroom deals with the rifle dropped back, looking back relaxed and live together to find a meal, the grass traces of star tawdry I've crack scientist, ensigns educators, help me bring the they start off. This is start talk all stars addition, I'm Eurostar, hostess
evening, Caroline Porco and I'm a planetary scientist and leader. The imaging signs team of the Cassini in orbit around Saturn as we speak. My co host today is Chuck nice thing Sr One being here Chuck Oh yeah, and today we are talking about the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, absolutely something everybody just loves to hear about, and also the breakthrough listen project which the most comprehensive, well supported, search for alien life to date and to help us dig deeper into this enormous topic. I've brought on Visa Skype the principal investigator of this project Dan Worth. I'm are welcome Dan to start up straight with you, ok Dan is he's many things these one of those people who spends his time wondering how we should become
allocating with aliens on other planets. So I think that's a pretty cool job s he's the chief scientists dead city at home is a program at Berkeley to involve the public in the search for aliens. He's, publish lots of pay, this topic. He's a radio astronomy, instrumentation geek cool thing about Dan. He was a member of the home brew computer club, along with Steve Jobs and Stephen the act and he's the only one who did not get filthy rich sorry about that down. But I'm gonna guess I'm a guess. You are much happier Irma you're a happy. We got a job right You got a really cool job. So here's the thing, we're gonna talk about Seti and first I just want you to prove it to confirm thing for me, I'm under the impression that the most sensitive Seti searches we have conducted to date would not have detected sing
those coming from our nearest neighbor star. That's only four point: two five light years away: unless those beings had an energy consumption, something like ten thousand times the energy that humans consume on our planet today. Am I right about that. Will it depends on what another civilization might be doing? We don't know what they might be doing our they sending off something like television or radio. Are they sending off something like our radar signals that leave the earth that are much more powerful? They might have something like our air sea by train. Better, which is incredibly powerful, that you can hear almost to the others. But the galaxy, but if they just have something like television, these army, directional transmitters. That's going to be very hard for us to detect and we're just beginning to learn how we might detect those kind of very weak signals like television signals, Something tells me that if they are a civilization who has television, there now
smart enough to try and contact us. Judging from our television, I'm just saying, if you look at what's what our television alien, alien, couch, potatoes, Zactly, alien cows, which Etas are not coming to find us. I know that's that that might be like the evolutionary dead in for a lot of civilization that their king by early hour, early television, shows, like I love, Lucy and Sullivan, left the earth about. Seventy light seventy years ago and have gone past about ten thousand stars in the nearby stars of seeing the Simpson I I don't know if I feel good about that. But anyway let me so I won't. What I want you to tell us is what breakthrough listen we'll. Do I mean there are things that you guys have on your website I would cite in your announcements. You gotta covered ten times more, the sky fifty times greater sensitivity,
five times more or the radio spectrum. I mean it sounds like you're, making gigantic advances so give us a sense of how good this is. Gonna get ok, I'll tell you about breaker, listen, but let me just back up a little bit too just explained the kind of search that Seti scientists do so? One of the ideas in setting the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is that earthlings send off radio and television and maybe other civilizations if they're out there. Maybe they have something like radio or television or radar or navigational beacons are something that we could detect. Maybe for very lucky, maybe another civilization might send us a deliberate signal which would be quite spectacular that would be sent anti cryptic graphically. Probably they want to get in touch and make it easy for us to decipher the message with lots of pictures and language
lessons: they might send us their whole library of Congress, all their music, poetry, literature. They might tell us how to get on the galactic internet and tell us how to talk to the other million civilizations they ve been talking to so could learn a lot. But let me let me just parts that said the first, the first type of signals it it's we each dropping on them and the second is a deliberate beacon where they are trying to get in touch her. That's kind of like we have done in the past, or things have sent a few messages deliberately, which is quite controversial, but most of the stuff it earns links transmit is not deliberate. Is our television re? Are that fm radio? You should be careful what you say when you're on Start STAR talk, because if its being broadcast it'll go out travelling at the speed of light, You can't withdraw that kind of communication. Ok, they're gonna, nothing that wooden pass the enemy s again loud. I gotta tell you that just killed my entire career here, I'm totally finished now
had nothing to say any more. Ok! So now tell us what now tell us what breakthrough? Listen is going to do for us. Ok, so we want to find out the answer. This question are: we alone? Is anybody out there and city is the search for technology? Looking for laser signals, a radio signals, but the problem is in setting we no there's a huge number of unknowns. What frequency will they be transmitting on? Where should we point our telescope, or should we pointed to a star galaxy? Theirs trillions of stars. We could look at. We don't know what kind of signal type it is there a huge number of unknown and we cannot do a thorough search. We can't look at every place in the sky at every channel for all the signal types but luckily we are limited in the search by computing power in the more compute, power. We have the more better job we can and right now we're just getting in the game we're just burning how we might get in touch with these other civilizations. If there are there, but the Good NEWS is that, because we're limited by computing power that is growing exponentially,
with more law. Computers are getting better and better, so we can do a more thorough searches every year. The capabilities are almost doubling least listen to one frequency, one channel time now were listening to a hundred billion channels at a time, and so this breakthrough, listen project that you ve been asking about is a new leap forward in capabilities in terms of frequency coverage and sky coverage and signal Ives it's about a hundred times, better than anything that we ve ever done before. Ok in an isn't it too will still be true, though, that the aliens will Communicating with our listening too will have to be significantly more advanced than we are. Ah. Is that something that we could do
do a signal that we receive that they must be more advanced than we are, or is that no longer going to be true, we could hear beings with the same capabilities that we have, which is it I think, a bit the likely nurse of detecting of civilization. That's just discovered radio them like we have. We just learn about radio in ways we can communicate with our civilizations a hundred years ago. That's a blink of an eye and our history, so the chance that we find one- that's just entered this kind of communication phase is very small. If we ever find e t, it's likely that that civilization will be a hundred million years or a billion years ahead of us, and we can but find them in city. If they are more primitive, then we are. If there are still trees are
activity or amoeba rightly, we cannot find them, although that, as you know, Carolyn because you're an expert on this- that there are other technologies which might be able to take primitive life, and maybe we could talk about that. But in setting we're looking for technology, and so the easiest kind of civilizations to detect will be the ones that are more advanced than we are not the emerging, primitive ones like you and me, ok, weapon. Ok, so we have some questions. Not yes, that's what we're doing turd today is a cosmic queries all about Seti.
And we have questions from all over the internet wherever we live, whether it is Facebook or twitter or even the patriarch, which is pleased to support star talk. If you are so inclined M one benefits that, though you received by supporting star talk, is we read your questions before anyone else's because we are like that in so, let's start things off with the patriarch question from a Gabriel Felon Gabriel says high from Australia, or should I say, good eye. He says based on your experience in the set turning in system. What do you think about the chances of habitable, or mostly habitable moon for humans developing around and Exo Planet? Also, what
The challenges in detecting such a moon or moons in nearby STAR systems such as alpha Centauri, here's, a young man from Australia whose put no thought into his question whatsoever, oh well, are you parties his eager he's he's interest rates? Are we love him anywhere? We do ok so, but I have to think those are the the first one was. Would we I think he said he saw him about. You know when you look at the moons round, saturnine national efforts in cellars. That is mostly water, and you know, maybe, as has the greatest potential for life, So your judging from that, I believe what he's asking is: what are the chances of us finding a habit We'll move around and exile planet, not just Saturn, but some so planet. So you know
considering bad a mean. What is the likelihood that that would happen? Well, ok! So now we're not talking about intelligent beings. We're talking about microbes, cause, that's kind of what we're thinking about on Enceladus. His might have microbes chances are excellent. There's nothing! in particular about Enceladus or any the other moons in our solar system that we think might have microbial life does nothing special as far as we know it this all the materials that we believe are cosmical distributed, so the chances that there are moons that have interior hidden oceans that might have organisms sums in, I think, is very high, that's very cool side, so the weather, whether intelligent life gets started as a big thing, because intelligent lifelines lots of resources on the earth we have
at all that are available to us in and minerals right under the surface you know at the surface of and sell it is just ice. The ocean is underneath say so. Yeah So he s a lot more involved to actually get intelligent life you're out, so that new and some would still argue that hasn't happened on earth yet sir, who ok do we have now. The second one was. The second question he wants to know was one of the challenges in detecting in a nearby detect them a kind of life in a nearby star system such as alpha, Centauri, okay, so dean you, the detector I you know. I know that in the echo planet community they have gotten because I've seen a paper oddness. They have got into the
stage, whether wondering if there are moons equivalent to moons like Enceladus around other around other planets around other stars and how would they might detect him? Do you have any insight into this so people have started looking for moons going around other planets, and I think that's gonna happen in the next. Maybe decade or so. We're gonna be have instruments and capabilities to find out whether there are moons going around Exo planets going around other stars and it as care mention there probably gonna, be law lots more moons and there are planets and some of those moods, even while to the moons and our own solar system have liquid water on em. So so that means there's gonna be a lot of places for microbial lives ice. I suspect the universe is teeming with microbial life. Intelligent life is less rare, but there are
You know two hundred billion stars, a trillion planets in the milky way Galaxy and a hundred billion galaxies. So I would be surprising you mean you mean it's more rare. Intelligent life is probably more rare. I think I think we're gonna find microbial life everywhere here, Wade invariably even find it in our own solar system with theirs. Probably a life in our guts right, there's more microbes in our guts. There are whatever stars in the galaxy or in the cosmos is allowed us. Ok, minor minor, actually haven't a bit of it up. As in right now, oh dear, oh, maybe we ought to get to the next question in a hurry. Ok, here we owe this question comes from Anthony Edward Stark, coming to us from Twitter, And- and I have to say let me preface his question by saying this is something that so many people I believe that want to Know- and I believe that this is the case. Here is what actually acts
do you think we humans might be some alien species brought to earth from some other planet. If, yes, how? Now, of course that is the Prometheus model where we ve been human life was seated, ok, so we will see that we are deliberately, though, maybe it started on Mars and came in others- lots Iraq's flying around the solar system that that that theories called pants vermeer. Ok, life that stuff, if, for instance, on Mars, a big rock say that again now, that's the theory is what now they're Dan PAN Smarmy that occurred at life, my little gesture planet or a moon. I'm just! Let me know dad if you, if you know
I did not make a joke. There should be very proud of the landing of opportunity. Ok, I just I let that goddamn enormous recite, let it go. Did you see the restraint? Yes, events earlier, let's, let's hear more about pants Burma, so suppose life got started on Mars. We know that big rock smashing the Mars, occasionally and and and then Roscoe flying all over the place, we should rocks and some of them have come to earth. You can go to an article find these rocks. If you find a black rock on the snow, then you see you can find out that it's got martian atmosphere in it, so we have rocks from Mars here on earth it, and maybe life got started on Mars or some other place, and came here and that's how life got started on earth. We really dont know where it came from. It might have gotten start on earth, but probably most likely it. It get started on earth, but we don't know if we do find life and our own solar system, a really interesting thing will be. Is it a completely different kind of life? Does it use different chemicals, different chemistry?
maybe a different kind of dna different amino acids. If that's, if that happens, if we find a different kind of life with a different chemistry, that means that life got to completely independent starts in our own solar system. Thou meets universes teeming with life, while that I mean that's just the prospect of that is mine blowing, because it means that throughout the entire galaxies. You could have like an unlimited, disparate amount of life. Our life forms Dan is absolutely. If we ever find that a second genesis took place in our solar system, it means the spells been broken right and it means that life is no longer a bug but a feature of the universe in which we live. And that's that's why you know we're so passionate about wanting to find out that the answer to this
but but anyway sightings. Instead, I will say, of course, that the chances what dam was talking about is that you could have an impact on a bus you like Mars or the earth and have rocks from it, go flying through the solar system and maybe even end up in the outer solar system on a moon like Europa or Enceladus, but the further, go the less the chances are actually for that to happen. So it's why some of us really think that in our solar system and sell it is probably the best chance for us actually being to ask asked the question whether or not life has gotten started a second time and our solar system, and it could be with the answer, also could be that the chemistry, the biochemistry is the same, maybe that's. The best
I am sorry that the universe has been able to come up with a mean. If it ain't broke, don't fix it right. Ok, anyway, we works. We have to take a short break now, but when we come back more of your cosmic queries when start talking, hey! secret, for you when I consider singing all of the ads on this show. There just one way to get out of hearing there go to patriarch arms last startled and support where does at the five dollar level or higher to listen the star talk ad free You can download all current episodes into your favorite podcast player, and
we're here? Another commercial on star talk ever again. You will definitely not have to hear me saying if you support us at Patria, dark coms. Last our talk, radio, I mean I'm just thinking I mean just said really space inside it down to earth you're? Listening to start these dreams, thanks So well back to start short, radio. All stars addition, I'm your Aust, our host,
one Porco enjoining me in the studio was caused shock, nice and special guest Dan Wertheimer of you see Berkeley S nice for you to be here to ask you to be here, because we are doing cosmic queries. We have questions from all over the internet. And there they all want to know about Seti? Well, everybody wants to know about said that think we have to the best people in the world to talk about Seti, yes right here, and so these questions are going to be pretty easy for you and pretty fascinating for everybody else. Let's jumped back in with Anthony Edward Stark, who gave us an Great question, so he's got a second one here that I want to follow up with Asia is: do you think that there might be a chance of extra terrestrial life on any other plan?
satellites in our own solar system and can it be possible for us to actually converse with them in the near future. So he's just talking about right here in our eight little planets and then be out to the Cairo belt surrounding our little star there are intelligent life. Do we know for a fact that there is or is not intelligent life in our our solar system well definitively. Put aside the question is whether or not there is any intelligent life on the earth and I would say no, we have seen nary a piece of evidence of intelligent life. That's not where we're looking for in our applied to exploration programme dandy you want away in on this. This, it seems very unlikely that there could be intelligent life in our own solar system. However, there could be microbial life and the best places are Enceladus. Caroline is an expert on Enceladus
maybe a moon of Jupiter, possibly there was microbial life on Mars still could be, but that these move of Jupiter, and of Saturn are, are better places, I think the Mars. We also have microbial life in stasis on some of these comments that were inside of the ice that's frozen or on one of these comics could that be. I think I think that's part of our mental picture that local have organisms that go into a state of Dormann State. They can stay there for a very very long time. So you know that that's not out of the question and it is part of the day the spectrum of possibilities, ok, cool the route that was our
a very good question? And I think I know where he's coming from because here is that they me as a sigh fi fan. What you fantasize about is a very advanced civilization. Who is hiding in our own solar system in a cloaked device on a planet mere by using the planet as a base of operations to observe earth, but they dont want to. Let us know that their there, because they would be violating some type of moral code by interfering with with our natural develop yet you sleep well at night. I, u fantasize about this, then you can sleep at night, then what it? What are you? Where are you going to say I think you're watching too much start directive
we are. Actually you know I was it. I was as consulting on STAR Trek, two thousand and nine really and the the director J J Abrams heap. He invited me to just be a consultant. I thought I was going to be a consulted on the planetary scenes or something and the first question he paused to me was army, says you know we have a problem. We have this: the enterprise, the starship enterprise, coming back into the solar system to destroy the earth to save the earth. Excuse me from the, though the bad guys, and we have to figure out where to hide it, and I said well, you should I did in the atmosphere of Titan and then have a rise up submarine style added the haze so that you know that would make a great scene and so on and I'm I thought I was being tested and it turns out they liked it. Much. They used it in the movie, yeah yeah. Of course they got it wrong because they thought they thought that you could you
could hide its electromagnetic signals, in the magnetic field. The rings in them saddens rings, does don't have a magnetic field right, but anyway it was the thought that count. That is awesome here that that's my thoughts? I thought. Maybe you saw that STAR Trek and that's why you're having these nightmares, even I did see their storage or at any rate I have these. You know I'm not a stable person. Minus one, go ahead and let you know or my bullets, okay, we all have our works out exactly our right Let us move on to
Oh my god, this is you don't sometimes our listeners, they ask questions, we don't we don't tell them what they can and cannot ask you know. Sometimes I read them, and sometimes I don't, but I got to read this just because you know what I have two people like yourselves in the room, I'm always interested to see what kind of response I'll receive to a question like this one from James Haney and James says: if f from should win the election know. What effect do you feel he will have on space exploration and stem programmes, and since Donald from has made his way into every single fibre of bizarre guys bigger what the hell am? I was well put him in a cosmic queries.
Well? Ok, so I was in prepared for that. I now I'm glad you're. So what affectivity have on space exploration? I think if he thought that we could, with our robotic explorers go and bombed the hell out of Mars. He might lead my dream- I, like you re- might actually do wonders for our budgets but actually know Dan. Do you want to take it I don't want it, but I don't want to be the only one here I'll sometimes our own lives throw us for a loop and so on interest to daddy is what do you say? There is a scary guy he's poorly informed. You know he doesn't know anything about science, you denying climate change, so I think you know he's gonna to probably cut the budgets for science and space explorations bad news. Very thought. As a scare maybe he's an implanted alien did anyone ever consider that what has ever considered that- and you know what
the consideration. However, I do believe that if you guys were to come together and on time, about all of you and your community in so everyone who is searching for extraterrestrial intelligence, everyone who is searching for extra terrestrial life. If you were to come to Donald Trump as president and say to him, we have found a planet of trumps. You will get all the funding you needed, while he, if we could tell him how to put his name right, we ve had we found the planet of trumps and you're gonna, be able to put your name on it,
Believe me, you get all the money you may probably would probably one area that was fun. So let us move on this from tony secular and Tony would like to know what, if anything, do we expect to find as far as extra terrestrial life, if and when we do find it? My impression is that the consensus is we'll find some sort of bacteria or micro organisms, but pretty much nothing else. So I mean that's, that's a little bit of a pessimistic view on your life's work. Frail only say that
a crowbar you will find, but anything else not gonna happen. Well, I think ok, so he's basically saying that the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is gonna turn up a no result, despite all our efforts to improve our sensitivity to improve our signal processing so that gets into that kind of takes us to the Drake equation. What are the chances that we have intelligent, civilizations out there who have reached a state where they can communicate and fact are doing Cross Galaxy Communication so Dan, I think you and you talk more about the drink equation because I don't know it to be all K. While this I would like to know what that is stand as an expert on these two m. Can you tell us about the the drink equation? You're, so Frank, Drake formulated this way you could calculate how many intelligent communicating civilizations there are in the galaxy and what you do is you multiply all these where's together, like how many planets there are, and how many this plan
a good. An army is planets, are the right temperature and right chemicals. And then, if you have a good planet, we call the Goldilocks planet, how many companies often dislike it started on that thing and then if life get started, how often does it involve intelligence and then the last factor in the Drake equation is once you get it. Intelligent creature. How long did they lived? They blow themselves up with their biochemical weapons, or do they live together. For billions of years in our son is five billion years all this kind of middle age is gonna, be around another couple billion years, some stars or ten billion years old. So there could be very advanced civilizations out their billions of years ahead of us. So we the problem with the Draken is that we don't really know what any those factors are just beginning to learn. What's out there and our youth as we know a little bit about the first part of the declaration about planets, and maybe a bit about how many of those planets are good planets. We think they're a trillion planets,
milky Way Galaxy, that's more planets and there are stars we think. Maybe five percent of those are pretty good planets places with mine have the right conditions for life, lots of places for light. But after that, how often does like it started? How often does it get intelligent we really just don't now and so an ngo. Nor is it isn't it also in oh, you have taken to, I just think of it this way before the ubiquity of human beings across the globe. Let's just say we word I would like the black plague happened when we were all in one little met landmass we might have been wiped out, we might have been life and then all of them
doubt that's right and might have happened many times it's all right. So this is something that could there could be life, an intelligent life that somehow ends up through some natural disaster being just wiped off about particular planet that try to reset the clock, and maybe evolution start all over again. That's that's a factor! That's why Frank Dreg did it the way you did it writing a separated out into these various factors so He could take one at a time and isn't there? Dan is a factor near the end of that equation that that tries to describe the duration, the lifetime of civilization, and I could get kind of up to US up to our civilization, to figure out how long we're gonna live we're getting into this kind of dangerous by There are probably gonna, be two kinds of civilizations they're, the ones at White themselves out and the ones that have learned to live together and
and it's getting easier to kill a billion people, and so there are probably gonna be two kinds of civilizations they're. The ones at white themselves out and the ones that have learned to live together and in in peace and get through that kind of bottleneck where they have these dangerous weapons and they can figure out how to do it. So a lot of people think that city is the archaeology of the future. Filmore US and said was the archaeology future. So if we get in touch with a civilization, has gone through that difficult period and figured out how to survive through that, we could learn a lot. We could learn what's in our future, so I think the answer to tat question about. Are we find intelligent life. We really dont know, but I think its profound either way if we find out the universes teeming with intelligent life, get on the galactic internet, we can learn about our future and how civilization survive through that difficult time, it's also profound- the other way if we learn that it that way,
the only intelligent creatures into these vast universe, that's incredibly profound as well. That means we better take incredibly good care of the precious life here on earth. So here I agree that all good stuff wow, we'll Tony that was, The great question we certainly appreciated, and even though Europe quite the pessimists, we don't want side with you tony. We are optimistic about the future and about life Tony, so there now joke it. Well, let's move on. This is a Demi Clinton and Demi is kind of a follow up to what Tony was saying. Endeavour is very concerned about just individual planets and she says what different categories of data are used to determine our planet's probability for supper.
Putting life as we would recognize it, and what about life we may not be able to recognise. So is it possible basically to have a planetary housing for life? That is so unlike us that we would not recognize it will this far more in terms in the category of the kind of life we are going in search of within the solar system. Ok and its true, there could be a biochemistry, ah ORD, morphology, that we looks completely alien us and its hard when you, you know in space exploration, where, the rubber meets the road is when you have to put an instrument or a suite of instruments on a spacecraft and send them very far away
not bring in that thing back into the shop to change it if suit. You know you designed it incorrectly, you gotta design it. You have to have specific questions that it's gonna ask right and then actually you also have to if your wise enough, you designed so that you might find something surprising it you're in a lot of science, is serendipitous. So so anyway, that's it. That's more a question of what we do here in the solar system. Far as the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, I know that there are people within the echo planet community who think that the detection of a signal from an extraterrestrial intelligence will be the only way we will be a hundred percent certain that we will have found life because it might be hard to detect there, you have it that pretty much. The answer is, we know what we know. It has regrettably bubble
might not know what we know now. We might not know, but we don't know so there you have it. I think that's that's! Actually, okay, so we're going to take it. Short break now. But when we come back more of your cosmic queries when startup returns, where breathing space inside it down to earth you're. Listening to start, I welcome back to start talk, radio, all stars addition, I'm your all storehouse Carolyn
GO and I'm here in the studio with co host shock. Nice is actually very nice nice to have you here just very to carry him, carry an mice, She'll guest is Dan. Wertheimer of you see Berkeley S. Ah, who is the principal investigator for the new breakthrough? Listen proud, which is a new era in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Welcome Dan, her girlish untasted. Okay, so I saw on Twitter. Questions that I would like to bring up. Ok, I don't remember who s this, but this was a really good question I saw, and that is- and this is for Dan. Has there been any discussion? Ah, what Carl Sagan put in contact about a protocol that the United States, too, with the world because this certainly would be a worldly, a global response that a protocol for how
we would deal with and how we might even think about responding to a signal from an obvious extraterrestrial intelligence, and I know signal going back. You know it fit took twelve. Thousand years to get to us. You know we're not gonna have a lengthy conversation, but still that will be a signature day in in the history of humanity to receive such a thing. And you know at some point we have to grapple with the the issue of how we would respond. So We take it away down. What have you guys in your community? If anything, thought or said about this, there is a protocol for what to do. If you find something that looks interesting, the very first part of the protocol is
Did you really find something interesting or was it a student playing a prank on you or a bug in your software, and so that the part of that is to go to a different telescope and or different optical telescope and perhaps use different, instrumentation, indifferent people and see if you can do an independent verification? If, if a different group with different instruments on a different telescope can see it also, then you know you found something interesting and if you have to telescopes you ve been kind of triangulate on the source and measure its distance and make sure you haven't found a satellite going around the earth or some earth kind of technology make sure its way out there. We still won't know if it's another civilization, but we will now it's very interesting and so what what the protocol says is that at that point you make all the information everything you know about that signal. Public you'd, say: you'd make an announcement. We found a really interesting signal. These are the coordinates in this.
The frequency we saw that everything you know about the signal you probably say that we don't know what it is. It might be. Some other civil they should, but it might be some new astrophysics phenomena when Paul Sars were discovered by Joslyn Bell They called him algae. I'm one l, GM too little green man will agreement to they didn't they didn't know what they they turned out not to be built. Growing green. They turned out to be positive, but it could be some disk we like that- you find new who phenomena in space that does not extract anyway. I think at that point everybody will start to look at it from and also we can only track it for a little while from our telescope, so other telescopes and other trees will be looking to try to figure out what it is is their information content. Can we decode the message if its sent deliberately maybe it'll, be easy to decode? If its accidentally? coming our way like television comes off, the earth is going to be very hard, probably impossible to figure out what the content of
Messages will know that there is another civilization out there. It's transmitting something, but we probably won't be able to figure out what the content is still interesting. Now then, the next party questions. Well, if you find a signal like that that you thinkers from another civilization. What do you do after that? And- and there been large conferences and books written about the potential kind of scenarios- and one of the questions that you alluded to in your question- is who should speak for earth? Should we respond- and I think that's a question for all Earthling said he is a project in international project for all of humanity and maybe even all the species on the planet So I think whether or not earthling should reply and whether or not how what we should do, what we should send back or whether and what the content of a possible transmission back probably depends a lot on what we receive. But it should be a question not just for me and
said he scientists that should be a question for people from all over the world and all kinds of disciplines and all of humanity: ok, cool man. That is I liked I like that idea. I just think the irony of what you just said. As I can see a world war breaking out over who should speak for earth? Is that its easy to transmit a signal of anybody can operate a transmitter laser and so I'd. Imagine One scenario is they'll, be a hundred thousand replies and maybe that's a good. That's, maybe that's the way to reply. That they learn about all the different cultures and all the different craziness on this planet. All at once. What this this brings up a topic, then you and I have discussed in private and
but you know around the dinner table- and I know the conversation got quite heated, but I'm gonna bring it up here. There are two camps about the sending of messages: okay and there's the camp that feels its it and you know Frank Draken, Carl Sagan did this Frank Drake did it with the Irish Sea while message in nineteen, seventy four, he broadcast a simple. Seventeen hundred bit message actually was to test the piracy bow, but he be aimed at a globular cluster and they. Broadcast and then of course, Carl. I headed up the famous pioneer plaque in the Voyager records. It was all an attempt to say something about ourselves too to the galaxy. Like a long distance hopeful call to our galactic cousins, returned Hudson,
reach out and touch someone exactly and I you know I was a great fan of Karl. He invited me to be the character consultant on the movie contact. We had conversations about these things and the island? Is she ate a just a few years ago, my own message to the milky way that I was going to redo the irish sea. Bow message. I have no lustre is I feel that it's a wonderful, even Steve Pinker, whose only a link he's soldier, who is you know, part of cosmos, one in cosmos to and in just other Rick Armstrong. The son of Neil Armstrong. Lots of people feel that it's a wonder, but even Steve Pinker, whose only a link famous linguist at Harvard is part of my advisory board and we were going to construct a message. You know, is the idea really that someone's gonna pick this up well, who knows, but it's really more, to get the they humanity on earth to be more cosmetically aware
to realize. They are one planet in a big galaxy that might be teeming with life and so on, but I know that the breakthrough, listen project doesn't think that this is a good idea and they don't like it's like- I'm not taking this personally, but they don't, like groups like mine, to take it upon ourselves to put a message together and use the Irish Sea, but tell us So why did your way in on this and say why this why this is such a hot topic right? So, as you pointed out, it's very controversial their informal.
Polls indicate that about ninety nine percent of astronomers think that it's a bad idea to transmit now we're not talking about. If we receive a message, should we transmit budgets should we take the first action of transmitting messages now course earthlings, as you know, transmit all the time. There's, radio and television, but but you're telling about deliberate, pointed powerful transmissions are most people think that's a bad idea. That is it that it were an emerging kind of primitive civilization. We should list at first and see what's out there before we deliberately transmit messages, maybe in a thousand years or so after we learn a little bit more about the universe than we could think about transmitting. But most people think it's a dangerous are potentially dangerous thing. Do we Y Y know I as a dangerous? Why is a dangerous, so some people say that all all the advanced civilizations are gonna be in, and you know they ve
to live together in peace and they're, not gonna harm us or mine, are you know, rape, our daughters are in all our planet or ex blow us up, but we really dont know I mean that sort of- maybe that's naive thinking. We just don't know what's out there, so there is some angel, because we just really dont know what other civilizations are like. So most people think that if you want to transmit you shouldn't just do it take it upon yourself to transmit a message, but there should be a what we call the asylum process where there, if you're doing some dangerous thing- and science like researching you, no viruses or doing cottages. The engineer in this potentially dangerous, then there's a process that scientists go through where they talk about the potential risks figure out how to kind of contained some of those risks. What the potential benefits are. So we think that this is a potentially dangerous thing.
That should be an international body of all kinds of people from different disciplines should get together take a few years to figure this thing out. What are the potential risks? What are the dangers? What are the potential benefits so far? The messages that had been sent by earthlings have been not scientific messages. They been mostly publicity stunts or fund. Raising stunts nobody's actually done a scientific experiment where they send a message out and then maybe the
his ten light years away. So they wait for twenty years because it takes ten years to get there and then ten years to get back and then they list noticed any kind of science has so far been just sort of publicity. Most people think that's it. It's a bad idea because of the potential dangers of even hawking is is one of the people its that's because it is, you know, I'm a star trek fan, and so the probably one of the most famous star Trek episodes is the board and the board had no idea, that earthlings or Terrans existed, but then they got they got a message. Basically that said hey these guys it and then they were like. We will not stop until you are all steroid, ok I'll, I'm on the other side of this you see. I'm thinking light, I mean I don't care
hey that's on radio! Your sound like you are members of the National Rifle Association. No, I mean there's no reason to be that paranoid. First of all, there is an argument: it's not new with me. It's an I'm sorry. I meant to come prepared with the guy who wrote this. There is actually a paper. Their spending? There is an argument to be made that if, in a civilization word that aggressive, they probably would have droid themselves long before they. Ever got here and also that the time scales, the timescales for are so long and right now, like you, said we're pretty I'm sure I received I could get a reasonably far and I was planning to use our sea bow, but I'm just think it's it's it's over the top paranoid. I think I think that your right and here's why, for this reason, this reason alone
To find out that you are not alone, I think you would be so we go and say hi to somebody. You know it's just because when you look at the vastness of the universe and then you see God there's some people over there like that. Would be so exciting that I dont believe lay, let me go and conquer them would be the thing that would pop into your mind as closely if your advancing to actually make your way there and get and get them dank, and I think that that's, I think, you're, probably both right that that's it's unlikely that advance applications are gonna, be danger,
to us. But the problem is we really is a very difficult thing to say: you're absolutely. We know that for sure there are no dangerous civilizations out there, the conquer the galaxy, so we just don't know so I think you need some kind of asylum. Our process they cadmium sciences from all over the world should get together and assess the dangers and it shouldn't be up to a single individual to put earth at risk. But after you get go through that process and try to assess the risks and the possible benefits then then I'm gonna live. If they say it's, ok, they're no risks than I am all for it or the risks are minor. I right now. We just don't know. I wish that this kind of care that you are hoping to see with regard to this issue have had been applied to things like the use of fossil fuel. All in all the you know the technology-
he's at a really come back to harm our environment, but just like those other people have made mistakes with acknowledged doesnt mean that we should do that too. I think, but but in the data chances that chance it's such a, low probability. It's like maybe I risk low probability. It's one of those files in that category, just on figure should put earth at risk even with a low probability. I think you know maybe there's one percent chance that you could wipe out all of civilization. Are you willing to take that risk not away away than one percent less in life might be better under Alien overlords, honestly. They there could be potential benefits there very advanced that merely they could cure diseases world hunger- I mean. So why do we have today? Maybe they re chip us and ahead of you there we re we'd, all right. Ok, we have to wind down now Dan and Chuck. Thank you for helping us out here today, such as leisure outflanked. You ve been listening to start tough rating.
All stars addition: I've been your all star host Carolyn Porto until next time wake up, like Della job the organs which you could listen. The star talk, commercial, free joy start talking on patriarch for as little as five dollars per month and the ads will disappear. Learn more at patriarch dot com. Last star talk, radio,
Transcript generated on 2020-01-25.