Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

SETI: the argument for artefact searches

  • Seth Shostak (a1)

Abstract

For six decades, SETI has attempted to prove the existence of technologically advanced intelligence by detecting artificially generated electromagnetic signals. While such signals could certainly exist and – given the right circumstances – might be measurable here on Earth, contemporary searches are all compromised by limited sensitivity and a reliance on persistent transmissions. The energy required for any putative transmitters, the possible wish of the senders to be cryptic, and a likely ignorance about Homo sapiens’ existence all lead to the reasonable conclusion that greater attention to artefact searches could hasten the discovery of alien intelligence. We consider both the motivation, the advantages and the disadvantages of this approach. We also enumerate some of the specific artefact strategies that have been proposed and pursued.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Seth Shostak, E-mail: seth@seti.org

References

Hide All
Arnold, L (2005) On Artificial Transits Feasibility and SETI, arXiv:astro-ph/0509431
Bell Burnell, SJ (1977) Little green men, white dwarfs or pulsars? Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 302, 685.
Benford, J (2019) Looking for lurkers: co-orbiters as SETI observables. Astronomical Journal 158, 150.
Boyajian, TS, Alonso, R, Ammerman, A, Armstrong, D, Ramos, AA, Barkaoui, K, Beatty, TG, Benkhaldoun, Z, Benni, P, Bentley, R, Berdyugin, A, Berdyugina, S, Bergeron, S, Bieryla, A, Blain, MG, Blanco, AC, Bodman, EHL, Boucher, A, Bradley, M, Brincat, SM, Brink, TG, Briol, J, Brown, DJA, Budaj, J, Burdanov, A, Cale, B, Carbo, MA, Castillo Garcia, R, Clark, WJ, Clayton, GC, Clem, JL, Coker, PH, Cook, EM, Copperwheat, CM, Curtis, J, Cutri, RM, Cseh, B, Cynamon, CH, Daniels, AJ, Davenport, JRA, Deeg, HJ, De Lorenzo, R, De Jaeger, T, Desrosiers, J-B, Dolan, J, Dowhos, DJ, Dubois, F, Durkee, R, Dvorak, S, Easley, L, Edwards, N, Ellis, TG, Erdelyi, E, Ertel, S, Farfán, RG, Farihi, J, Filippenko, AV, Foxell, E, Gandolfi, D, Garcia, F, Giddens, F, Gillon, M, González-Carballo, JL, González-Fernández, C, González Hernández, JI, Graham, KA, Greene, KA, Gregorio, J, Hallakoun, N, Hanyecz, O, Harp, GR, Henry, GW, Herrero, E, Hildbold, CF, Hinzel, D, Holgado, G, Ignácz, B, Ivanov, VD, Jehin, E, Jermak, HE, Johnston, S, Kafka, S, Kalup, C, Kardasis, E, Kaspi, S, Kennedy, GM, Kiefer, F, Kielty, CL, Kessler, D, Kiiskinen, H, Killestein, TL, King, RA, Kollar, V, Korhonen, H, Kotnik, C, Könyves-Tóth, R, Kriskovics, L, Krumm, N, Krushinsky, V, Kundra, E, Lachapelle, F-R, Lacourse, D, Lake, P, Lam, K, Lamb, GP, Lane, D, Lau, MW, Lewin, P, Lintott, C, Lisse, C, Logie, L, Longeard, N, Lopez Villanueva, M, Ludington, EW, Mainzer, A, Malo, L, Maloney, C, Mann, A, Mantero, A, Marengo, M, Marchant, J, Martinez González, MJ, Masiero, JR, Mauerhan, JC, Mccormac, J, Mcneely, A, Meng, HYA, Miller, M, Molnar, LA, Morales, JC, Morris, BM, Muterspaugh, MW, Nespral, D, Nugent, CR, Nugent, KM, Odasso, A, O'keeffe, D, Oksanen, A, O'meara, JM, Ordasi, A, Osborn, H, Ott, JJ, Parks, JR, Perez, DR, Petriew, V, Pickard, R, Pál, A, Plavchan, P, Plaza, CW, Pollacco, D, Nuñez, FP, Pozuelos, FJ, Rau, S, Redfield, S, Relles, H, Ribas, I, Richards, J, Saario, JLO, Safron, EJ, Sallai, JM, Sárneczky, K, Schaefer, BE, Schumer, CF, Schwartzendruber, M, Siegel, MH, Siemion, APV, Simmons, BD, Simon, JD, Simón-Diaz, S, Sitko, ML, Socas-Navarro, H, Sódor, A, Starkey, D, Steele, IA, Stone, G, Street, RA, Sullivan, T, Suomela, J, Swift, JJ, Szabó, GM, Szabó, R, Szakáts, R, Szalai, T, Tanner, AM, Toledo-Padrón, B, Tordai, T, Triaud, AHMJ, Turner, JD, Ulowetz, JH, Urbanik, M, Vanaverbeke, S, Vanderburg, A, Vida, K, Vietje, BP, Vinkó, J, Von Braun, K, Waagen, EO, Walsh, D, Watson, CA, Weir, RC, Wenzel, K, Williamson, MW, Wright, JT, Wyatt, MC, Zheng, W and Zsidiet, G (2018) The first post-Kepler brightness dips of KIC 8462852. Astrophysical Journal Letters 853, L8.
Carrigan, RA (2009) IRAS-based whole-sky upper limit on Dyson spheres. Astrophysical Journal 698, 2075.
Clarke, AC (1973) Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry into the Limits of the Possible. New York: Popular Library.
Cocconi, G and Morrison, P (1959) Searching for interstellar communications. Nature 184, 844.
Dick, SJ (2008) The postbiological universe. Acta Astronautica 62, 499.
Drake, FD (1960) How can we detect radio transmissions from distant planetary systems? Sky and Telescope 19, 140.
Dyson, F (2003) Looking for life in unlikely places: reasons why planets may not be the best places to look for life. International Journal of Astrobiology 2, 103.
Griffith, RL, Wright, JT, Moldanado, J, Povich, MS, Sigurdsson, S and Mullan, B (2015) The Ĝ infrared search for extraterrestrial civilizations with large energy supplies. III. The reddest extended sources in WISE. Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 217, 2.
Harris, MJ (2005) SETI through the gamma-ray window: a search for interstellar spacecraft, bioastronomy. In Heidmann, J and Klein, MJ (eds). Lecture Notes in Physics, 390. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer, p. 300.
Hooper, D (2018) Life vs dark energy: how an advanced civilization could resist the accelerating expansion of the universe. arXiv 1806, 05203.
Isaacson, H, Siemion, A, Marcy, GW, Lebofsky, M, Price, DC, et al. (2017) The breakthrough listen search for intelligent life: target selection of nearby stars and galaxies. PASP 129, 975.
Jenkins, JM (2002) The impact of solar-like variability on the detectability of transiting terrestrial planets. Astrophysical Journal 575, 493.
Jugaku, J and Nishimura, S (2000) A search for Dyson spheres around late-type stars in the solar neighborhood III. Bioastronomy 99: A New Era in the Search for Life, eds. G. Lemarchand, K. Meech, ASP Conference Series, 213, 581.
Kardashev, N (1964) Transmission of information by extraterrestrial civilizations. Soviet Astronomy 8, 217.
Learned, JG, Kudritzki, R-P, Pakvasal, S and Zee, A (2013) The Cepheid Galactic Internet, arxiv.org/pdf/0809.0339.pdf
Lesnikowski, A, Bickel, VT and Angerhausen, D (2020) Unsupervised distribution learning for lunar surface anomaly detection. arXiv 2001, 04634.
Lingam, M and Loeb, A (2017) Fast radio bursts from extraterrestrial light sails. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 837, L23.
Loeb, A and Turner, E (2012) Detection technique for artificially illuminated objects in the outer solar system and beyond. Astrobiology 12, 290.
Lowell, P (1906) Mars and Its Canals. New York: The MacMillan Company.
Meng, HYA, Rieke, G, Dubois, F, Kennedy, G, Marengo, M, Siegel, M, Su, K, Trueba, N, Wyatt, M and Boyajian, T (2017) Extinction and the dimming of KIC 8462852. Astrophysical Journal 847, 2.
Minniti, D, Capponi, F, Valcarce, A and Gallardo, J (2004) A new search for Dyson spheres in the milky way, life in the universe. In Seckbach, J, Chela-Flores, J, Owen, T and Raulin, F (eds). Cellular Origin and Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology. Dordrecht: Springer, p. 173.
Nordley, GD (2018) Are Dyson spheres legal? Oral presentation at contact: cultures of the imagination conference. Sunnyvale CA (private communication).
O'Neill, G (1977) The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space. New York: William Morrow and Company.
Papagiannis, MD (1978) Are we all alone, or could they be in the asteroid belt? Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 19, 277.
Rebane, K (1993) The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence and Ecological Problems, Third Decennial US-USSR Conference on SETI, ed. G.S. Shostak, ASP Conf. Series, 47, 219
Sandford, E and Kipping, D (2019) Shadow imaging of transiting objects. A. J 157.
Scheffer, L (2010) Large scale use of solar power may be visible across interstellar distances. LPI Contributions 5207dm, 5207.
Shahsafi, A et al. (2019) Temperature-independent thermal radiation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, December.
Shostak, S (1998) Sharing the Universe. Berkeley: Berkeley Hills Books.
Simmons, WA (2004) Quantum optical cryptography and SETI, delivered at International Astronautics Conference, Vancouver. Available at https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/10.2514/6.IAC-04-IAA.1.1.1.10
Technosearch Web-Based Tool, SETI Institute, Available at https://technosearch.seti.org/
Villarroel, B et al. 2019. The vanishing and appearing sources during a century of observations project: I. USNO objects missing in modern sky surveys and follow-up observations of a ‘Missing Star,’ arXiv:1911.05068
Welch, W et al. (2009) The Allen telescope array: the first wide field, panchromatic, snapshot radio camera for radio astronomy and SETI. Proceedings of the IEEE 97, 8.
Wright, JT (2015) KIC 8462852: Where's the flux?, AstroWright, Pennsylvania State University. October, 15.
Wright, JT, Mullan, B, Sigurdsson, S and Povich, MS (2014) The Ĝ infrared search for extraterrestrial civilizations with large energy supplies. I. Background and justification. Astrophysical Journal 792, 1.
Wright, JT, Kasnodia, S and Lubar, EG (2018) How much SETI has been done? Finding needles in the n-dimensional cosmic haystack. Astronomical Journal 156.
Zubrin, R (2019) Detecting extraterrestrial civilizations using artificial singularity power. JBIS 72, 287.

Keywords

SETI: the argument for artefact searches

  • Seth Shostak (a1)

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.