Monday, 26 September 2016

Screening Our Alien Calls

At first glance there is not much in common between Stephen Hawking and myself but we do share the idea that their is life out there in the cosmos and if it called us, responding to it would be a bad idea.
Talking about 'The Breakthrough Listening Project', an initiative which does exactly what it says, listens out for any signals transmitted from other life forms on other planets, Hawking says that he is 'more convinced than ever that we are not alone' but cautions us Earthlings to be extremely wary about answering any signals from aliens when they come calling.
Hawking imagines a meeting between the two civilisations as something that would resemble Christopher Columbus meeting Native Americans, saying, 'that didn't turn out so well' and our history shows what happens once a more advanced civilisation discovers another one and if the alien intelligence turns out to be further along the technological trail than us...oops, bye bye, thanks for the fish.
So with the caution of keeping our heads down ringing in our ears, Hawking then points out Gliese 832c, a planet 16 light years from Earth as the place with the most potential to host life as it sits perfectly in the habitable zone of its Star to contain liquid water. 
The project is the biggest alien-hunting exercise ever undertaken and plans on using the world’s most sensitive radio telescopes to listen in on 10 times the amount of sky than similar enterprises have achieved in the past so hopes are high that if there is something out there and it is calling us, we will hear it but have th sense not to pick up.

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