Reaching out to other intelligent life

February 25, 2015 / Volume XXXVII / Issue 2

It is 2015 and society has not become any less fascinated with the possibility of extra terrestrial life. In fact, according to BBC News, scientists at a United States conference decided it is time to start trying to make contact with intelligent life on other worlds.

As decisions are made on potential messages, others fear that reaching out to the unknown will be like “shouting into a jungle.”

Professor of Physics and Astronomy George Ruppeiner has his qualms about trying to contact other life.

“Why would they be friendly?” Ruppeiner said. “Look what happened to the American Indians, the Aborigines in Australia, you know? Whenever you have a superior civilization, it’s bad for the weaker group.”

For more than 30 years, researchers have been listening in on signals from outer space in hopes of extra terrestrial contact by the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence institute (SETI). Because of this, the director of the organization, Dr. Seth Shostak, expressed it was time for researchers to start actively looking for ET themselves.

“We haven’t heard signals from other civilizations,” Ruppeiner said. “Maybe we’re looking in the wrong place. Maybe we’re looking at the wrong frequencies. Maybe we’re looking at the wrong types of signals. What patterns do you look for that are going to give it away as coming from intelligent life? And people don’t really know that.”

As for any life that could be out there, Earth has given itself away since World War II. According to Dr. Shostak, any society that wanted to come and ruin Earth already knows we are here.

“Here on earth, a lot of the signals come from radio stations,” Ruppeiner said. “The signals are modulated to give you speech, or visual signals, people know how these go, so people know where the signals come from, they know the character. With the beginning of television in particular, you had intense signals from the earth that are diffusing into space. Thirty light years out, these things could be decoded, and we could inadvertently give ourselves away.”

While a message for potential extra terrestrial life is in the works for, many scientists think that an introduction to Earth’s civilization should be “sanitized” leaving out parts of history that are less than charming. However, Dr. Shostak disagrees and thinks the only way to befriend the aliens is to supply the whole truth.

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