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Intergalactic messages 'in a bottle' are best

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  • Joe (uuk) McGonagle
    ... From: Jan-H. Raabe Newsgroups: uk.rec.ufo,alt.paranet,ufo Sent: Monday, September 06, 2004 12:45 PM Subject: Ufos in New
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 11, 2004
      Via the newsgroups:
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Jan-H. Raabe" <y0001095@...-bs.de>
      Newsgroups: uk.rec.ufo,alt.paranet,ufo
      Sent: Monday, September 06, 2004 12:45 PM
      Subject: Ufos in New Scientist

      > http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996342
      > Intergalactic messages 'in a bottle' are best
      > 18:00 01 September 04
      > NewScientist.com news service
      > Rather than transmitting radio messages,
      > extraterrestrial civilisations would find it far more
      > efficient to send us a "message in a bottle" - some kind
      > of physical message inscribed on matter. And it could
      > be waiting for us in our own backyard.
      > That is the conclusion of a new analysis of interstellar
      > communications by Christopher Rose of Rutgers
      > University in New Jersey and Gregory Wright, a
      > physicist with Antiope Associates also in New Jersey.
      > Assuming the aliens do not care how long it takes for
      > their message to arrive, beaming a radio signal that can
      > be detected 10,000 light years away, for instance,
      > would take a million billion times as much energy as
      > just shooting out matter in which data is embedded. "If
      > energy is what you care about, it's tremendously more
      > efficient to toss a rock," Rose says.
      > Radiation loses out to rocks over long distances
      > because it spreads out as it travels through space,
      > diluting the signal below detection levels unless the
      > beam is extremely powerful to begin with.
      > Bottle throwing aliens
      > If aliens are using a transmitter the size of the dish that
      > astronomers on Earth use to look for their signal - the
      > 305-metre radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico,
      > which is the largest single-dish telescope on Earth -
      > they would have to be closer than Saturn for the
      > transmission to be more energy efficient than just
      > flinging a bottle at us.
      > If the Voyager space probes, which are now at the edge
      > of the solar system, were each carrying three DVDs'
      > worth of data, they would be a more energy-efficient
      > way of sending information to someone 2000 light
      > years away than an Arecibo-to-Arecibo radio
      > communication.
      > Also, once radio signals pass they are gone for ever. So
      > aliens would have to beam signals continuously, or
      > other civilisations might blink and miss them. Physical
      > objects stay where they land.
      > Not everyone is convinced by Rose and Wright's
      > analysis. "Their conclusion is that we should be looking
      > for the Encyclopaedia Galactica within the Solar
      > System," says Fred Walker, an astronomer at Stony
      > Brook University in New York who is interested in the
      > search for extraterrestrial intelligence. "I'm not sure I
      > would expend any effort on this."
      > However, Don Yeoman at NASA's Jet Propulsion
      > Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who co-ordinates a
      > project looking for asteroids on a collision course with
      > Earth, accepts that their project could conceivably spot
      > such alien objects. "It's not completely out of the
      > question."
      > Journal reference: Nature (vol 431, p 47)
      > Jenny Hogan
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