SETI, Alien Contact and the Everyman

From OddThings :

There’s some interesting discussions going on between Mac Tonnies and Paul Kimball about the possible effects of disclosure, and/or contact with beings from elsewhere in the universe. Much of which was probably spurred by a post by Stuart Miller on his blog.I think what would happen here on Earth would be likely to be widely varied based on what kind of contact, and where on the planet you were. For instance, as I’ve said elsewhere, if there were simply a confirmed signal from SETI, it was deemed harmless and too far away for conventional travel, I think most people would forget about it within a couple of weeks. While many of us would debate the ins and outs of it forever, probably, I can’t imagine many of the people I work with, for instance, thinking about it for more than 24 hours, at best.

If actual contact were disclosed, either via the government or some other way, I think the reaction would be more severe. People would worry, assign each and every conspiracy in the world to “them” and would probably even assign their own behavior towards “mind control” or from listening to the alien contact in their heads, etc. I think in many cases paranoia would take over.

If ETs came and landed on the White House lawn, I think in most cases the reaction might actually be panic in many cases. Particularly if it were seen that they had something to gain from us, by either taking us over or by other means. However, I think many people would realize that if a technologically advanced society wanted to take us over, making open contact probably wouldn’t be the first choice of how to do that. Simply doing it would be. Many people wouldn’t stop to think, though, I’m sure. The world as they knew it would completely and totally change, and many would assume that the change was not for better.

As I see events unfold in America and the world, the idea of alien contact, be it radio signal or actual physical presence would change humanity forever. Unfortunately, I would agree more with Paul Kimball intellectually, but my heart wants to agree with Mac Tonnies more optimistic dissertation.

Both Dustin and Stuart Miller mention on their blogs that the form of contact would make a difference. A confirmable radio transmission is much more non-threatening than physically meeting aliens. But I don’t agree as Dustin points out that, “… I think most people would forget about it within a couple of weeks. While many of us would debate the ins and outs of it forever, probably, I can’t imagine many of the people I work with, for instance, thinking about it for more than 24 hours, at best…”. I think it would take longer than a day to forget about alien contact by radio telescope. I would give it a week anyways! LOL!

I noticed nobody mentioned contact with an alien bracewell probe. In my humble opinion, such a device would be perfect for contact. And economical as well. Bracewell probes could be programmed AI nanobots propelled by electromagnetic wavelines at .9 c (90% lightspeed) to its destination and orbit the target star in the systems Oort Cloud or Kuiper Belt for centuries until a radio or whatever kind of electromagnetic signal was detected from the inner system. The AI would determine when and if the time was right to make contact with the suspected intelligences.

A little known piece of trivia concerning a possible contact signal from an alien bracewell probe during the 1920s has been quietly shoved into a drawer of history. Signals received by a Dutch ham radio operator in 1927 seemed like “pings” or “echoes” of radio signals in the L4 and L5 points of the Moon’s orbit. Duncan Lunan first wrote about it in 1928 and Chris Boyce wrote a treatise about it in 1999. Could an alien probe be sharing the Moon’s orbit and has the world’s governments been communicating with said object? World leaders aren’t kissing and telling apparently.

For lack of hard evidence, I will assume that there is no alien bracewell probe at this moment in time circling the Earth sending radio signals. My assumptions generally are wrong, so don’t take my word for it. And if we, meaning human beings, have thought of the concept of sending AI interstellar probes for purposes of exploration or contact, chances are other intelligences have also and actually employed the idea.

The possibility is both frightening and exciting!

OddThings post

Stuart Miller post

Chris Boyce SETI article

Epsilon Bootes probe star-map

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7 responses

  1. The most famous use of the Bracewell probe concept was Stanley Kubrick and Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    The Monolith was powerful, but not all powerful. It met an ignoble end by an engineered super-trojan computer worm in Clarke’s 1996 work, 3001.

    Alas, all things are mortal!

  2. Isn’t there a probe that was launched some years ago that has now passed beyond Pluto and left the Terra solar system? I can’t remember the name of it but I saw I saw a program on channel 514 Discovery Science and they said it was on its way to deep space.

    That would kinda’ be the same as a Bracewell probe? No?

    I think we’ve discussed this before but I don’t think the government would for a moment disclose “Contact.” To do so would challenge our belief in our own omnipotence, religion and commerce. Especially commerce.

    Humanity would never see life or identity the same.

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post, dad.

    I don’t have a strong belief one way or the other about whether there is or isn’t intelligent life elsewhere, except the idea seems childlike, as if someone/something bigger and better will one day come to rescue us from ourselves.

    If another benevolent lifeform were to land here, I have no doubt we would kill it asap.

  4. Hi dad2059,
    supposing alien life did exist and supposing they were advanced enough to reach earth, and supposing they were anything that we would recognise as ‘life’ – I think their very first problem would be entering the earth’s atmosphere unnoticed, and the very high risk of being shot down by the US or Russia.

    If they ‘think’ like us or rather like the US, then they would be armed to counteract any threat – however it would greatly depend how far advanced they were – as to whether we are any threat to their ships.

    Now if there were an invading armada of them, all sorts of things can still go wrong – see Independence day – a couple of hollywood stars might infect their system with a virus, and bring them crashing down.

    However, if they were sufficiently advanced to colonise earth, then they may well do to terrans, what europeans did to natives in america, ie: decimate them and take over ‘possession’ of the land.

    Somehow, the US would not be in a favourable position to argue ethically or morally, if the chickens came to ‘roost’. You know, easy come, easy go – it’s the nature of things or survival of the fittest.

    However any ‘galactic’ wars are sure to be more deadly than the war for the pacific between the US & Japan. A bit harder to establish supply routes – and boy, being caught in a sinking ship in the Pacific Ocean in 1944 – 1945 would be nothing like being stranded in space in a damaged ‘starship’.

    The irony with space (more so than sea travel) is the requirement to keep the ship ‘light’ but still have ‘substantial’ fire power. With the sea you can just add more armour plating, bigger guns and bigger engines – with space you are ‘obliged’ to keep weight down, else the hardest thing is to launch the spaceship.

    I’m thinking any sizeable spaceship will have to be assembled in Space just like the ISS – at least with current technology – and fleets of space shuttles taking parts and crew up & down. At least until we have a Moon Base – and can start building spaceships on the Moon.

    Now, that is not so much beyond our technology, as it is beyond current economics, investment in space, and political will.

    But hey, Columbus had to ‘wait’ because of other political priorities – for his three ships – before he set sail for the new world

  5. The concept of the Bracewell Probe primarily is a form of intentional contact, in lue of radio telescope or actual physical contact with aliens. It kind of combines both, the probe(s) are intentionally launched toward a target, then a waiting game ensues. If it (the AI) detects a radio signal immediately or after waiting centuries, it then determines if the civilization is ready for contact. I’m sure it wouldn’t be programmed to rescue any nascent technological cultures. Unless it was a Clarke Tech type Monolith Bracewell (2001: A Space Odyssey) that intentionally “tweeked” the potential in a pre-intelligent species. Then it would have a vested interest I suppose.

    The old probes leaving the Solar System with the gold records on them can’t really be considered Bracewells because they weren’t intentionally launched toward an interstellar target area. The records were put on them just on the “off chance” of being encountered.

    As for interstellar armadas, I can’t really discount them, but I would consider them highly unlikely. Barring some kind of faster than light technology of course!

  6. Thanks for the link and excellent post. I’ve never seen your blog before, and I’m glad I found it. Very enjoyable and informative. Keep it up!

  7. Henadzi Filipenka | Reply

    The superconductor and nanotechnology from the extraterrestrial probe.

    Dear Sirs!The information, contained in the project is
    in my
    opinion
    the evidence of its extraterrestrial origin.

    Project
    of decoding of ‘The Stormer Effect’

    The phenomenon is described by C.Stormer in his
    work ‘The
    Problem of Aurora Borealis’ in the chapter
    entitled ‘The
    Echo of Short Waves, Which Comes Back in Many Seconds
    After
    The Main Signal’.

    In 1928 the radio- engineer Jorgen Hals from Bigder
    near Oslo
    informed C.Stormer about an odd radio echo received 3
    seconds after the cessation of the main signal;
    besides, an
    ordinary echo encircling the Earth within 1/7 of a
    second
    was received.

    In July Prof. Stormer spoke to Dr. Van-der-Paul in
    Andhoven
    and they decided to carry out experiments in autumn
    and send
    telegraphic signals in the form of undamped waves
    every 20
    seconds three dashes one after the other. On 11
    October 1928
    between 15.30 and 16.00, C.Stormer heard an
    echo ‘beyond any
    doubt’; the signals lasted for 1,5- 2 seconds on
    undamped
    waves 31,4 meters long.

    Stormer and Hals recorded the intervals between the
    main
    signal and the mysterious echo:
    1) 15, 9, 4, 8, 13, 8, 12, 10, 9, 5, 8, 7, 6
    2) 12, 14, 14, 12, 8
    3) 12, 5, 8
    4) 12, 8, 5, 14, 14, 15, 12, 7, 5.5, 13, 8, 8, 8, 13,
    9,10,7,14,6,9,5

    5) 9

    Atmospheric disturbances were insignificant at that
    time.
    The frequency of echoes was equal to that of the main
    signal. C.Stormer explained the nature of echoes by
    reflection of radio waves from layers of particles
    ionised
    by the Sun. But!

    The Professor of the Stenford Electrotechnical
    University
    R.Bracewell suggested possibility of informational
    communication through space probes between more or less
    developed civilisations in space. From that point of
    view
    the information about decoding of Stormer series can be
    found in following journals:

    ‘Smena’ No.2 Moscow 1966 , ‘Astronautics and
    Aeronautics’
    No.5 USA 1973, ‘Technika Molodezi’ No.4 1974 and No.5
    1977
    Moscow, etc.

    The author of this work offers the following decoding:
    let
    the numbers in the series be replaced for chemical
    symbols
    of elements with corresponding nuclear charges:
    1) P F Be O Al O Mg Ne F B O N C
    2) Mg Si Si Mg O
    3) Mg B O
    4) Mg O B Si Si P Mg N B B Al O O O Al F Ne N Si C F B
    5) F

    It is easy to see that the second series is repeated
    at the
    beginning of the forth series with the only difference
    that
    in the forth series silicon is alloyed with boron and
    phosphorus, i.e. ‘p-n transition’ of a diode is
    created. The
    third series describes receipt of pure boron through
    action
    on boron anhydrite by magnesium:
    B2O3 and(+) Mg = B+ …

    The author of the above hypothesis wrote his degree
    paper on
    silicon carbide light-emitting diode, that is why the
    ending of the forth series is the most simple- it is a
    modern light-emitting diode. Silicon carbide is
    alloyed with
    nitrogen and boron with ‘some participation’ of
    fluorine.
    Approximately the same way diamond is alloyed with
    participation of fluorine in laboratories of ‘other
    civilisations’, as can be seen at the ending of the
    first
    series. In the middle of the forth series corundum,
    the base
    of ruby, is also alloyed with boron, nitrogen and
    fluorine.
    In the fifth series simply fluorine is educed as a
    useful
    but very aggressive gas. Inert neon seems to divide
    optoelectronic devices.

    In conclusion, some repeated applications should be
    noticed:
    fluorine favours in a way either diffusion of boron or
    electronic processes in forbidden zones of diamond,
    silicon
    carbamide; for some reason magnesium contacts are used.

    Now,MgB2 is supercoductor!!! (2001?)
    =========================================================
    In 1928 semi-conductor devices were not in use on
    Earth.
    Leningrad,1978.

    P.S.This paper is placed in Internet from 1998,please
    see at:
    http://www.belarus.net/discovery/filipenko/fil2.htm
    (in English)
    =====================================================
    Superconductivity in diamond, Nature, 428, 542 (2004)
    Origin of Superconductivity in Boron-doped Diamond.
    ========================================================
    All this discoveries are placed in series of C.Stormer!
    P.S.
    Origin of Superconductivity in Boron-doped Si (2006).

    Sincerely, Henadzi Filipenka

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