Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Einstein@Home and interstellar transmissions via energy-markers or matter-markers

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Stars - Results of the first Einstein@Home search for continuous wave sources in LIGO S5 data have been published in Physical Review D. The project’s objective is to find the first physical evidence of one of Einstein’s greatest predictions — the existence of gravitational waves. It is one of the world's largest public volunteer distributed computing projects, with more than 200,000 people donating time on their computers to search data for signals from unknown pulsars. See article.
g Message - Interstellar transmissions via energy-markers (photons) or matter-markers (probes) appear to be energetically indistinguishable alternatives for advanced technical societies. Since only Type II and Type III civilizations realistically can afford beacons or star probe technology, alternative distinguishability criteria suggest the possible superiority of intelligent artifacts for contact and communication missions among extraterrestrial cultures. A balanced, more cost-effective Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence strategy is needed. See article.
g Cosmicus - Quote of the Day: “It would be odd indeed if the human race did not search for other planetary systems after exploring the Solar System. Other stars and their planets are prospective wonders too intriguing for us to neglect.” - Edward Ashpole, “The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence”
g Aftermath - The scientific discussion of the evolution of life in the universe raises some key philosophical and theological issues Will life and intelligence be found throughout the universe, or will it turn out to be exceedingly rare? Will intelligent life be capable of both rationality and moral agency? Will evolutionary biology determine its moral content or will it merely bequeath intelligent life with moral capacity, leaving moral content to be determined independently of biology? If moral agency evolves, will these species inevitably exhibit moral failure, or is our generic human experience of moral failure strictly the result of our particular evolution, leaving us to expect there to be other civilizations that are entirely benign? The discussion of these issues, though largely hypothetical, can offer insight into the theological and cultural implications of the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence as well into a better understanding of the human condition. See article.

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