The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
Inspired by Carl Sagan and the movie adaptation of his book “Contact” I have long been a fan of the S.E.T.I. efforts. However, considering the immense size and longevity of our galaxy, I admit that I am beginning to rethink the value of the hundreds of millions that have been spent on this project. While the wow! signal got folks excited it was over 33 years ago. It is the only potential result from all of the SETI efforts.
The Wow! signal was a strong narrowband radio signal received on August 15, 1977, by Ohio State University‘s Big Ear radio telescope in the United States, then used to support the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. The signal appeared to come from the direction of the constellation Sagittarius and bore the expected hallmarks of extraterrestrial origin.
Astronomer Jerry R. Ehman discovered the anomaly a few days later while reviewing the recorded data. He was so impressed by the result that he circled the reading on the computer printout, “6EQUJ5”, and wrote the comment “Wow!” on its side, leading to the event’s widely used name.
The entire signal sequence lasted for the full 72-second window during which Big Ear was able to observe it, but has not been detected since, despite several subsequent attempts by Ehman and others. Many hypotheses have been advanced on the origin of the emission, including natural and human-made sources, but none of them adequately explain the signal.
Let’s suppose we do get a signal from other intelligent life. Let’s assume that this intelligence is very close to us, say only 1,000 light-years (the average of other solar systems in the Milky Way is 25,000 light-years). What are the odds that this civilization’s message to us from 1,000 years ago would be the same one they would send to us today? What are the odds that this civilization would be only 1,000 light-years away?
Like many people, I want to discover that we are not alone in the Galaxy. I can’t provide definitive scientific proof, but I think I can make a strong case, in a court of law, that we are not alone and that galactic tourists have visited us in the past and likely are here in the present. There is plenty of circumstantial and eye witness evidence.
I occasionally watch the Ancient Alien and UFO programming available through my Satellite provider. While I find many of the claims ridiculous, there are seemingly reliable reports from credible sources. There is also substantial evidence of governments successfully suppressing proof of these events. There has been congressional testimony from scientists. Thousands of persons are convinced that they have been abducted. Millions of eye witness UFO sitings remain unexplained. And numerous death bed confessions from individuals that were not willing to reveal their experiences until that time, fearing retribution. I believe these facts if presented in court, would carry the day. We are not alone.
We have spent massive funding on SETI research with essentially no results. The only folks doing legitimate research to validate what is occurring right now on unexplained encounters with potential ETs are small groups that rely heavily on the proceeds from TV programming for funding.
Assume for a moment that we are not alone in the Galaxy and that they are here now. The question then would be, where did the ETs originate? Did they come from another star system? Are they travelers from another dimension? Are they our civilization from the future? I have no idea.