News Stories

They Will Never Find Us Now

There's a good reason why, despite all our efforts, we haven't been able to pick up any signs of alien life, and an EVEN BETTER reason why they haven't contacted us yet (unless they have).

March 2nd edition of the New York Times, Dennis Overbye writes about a mathematical formula devised by astronomer Frank Drake in 1961 which became known as the Drake Equation, which says that the lack of evidence of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations suggests that technological civilizations tend to destroy themselves quickly. Dr. Drake's equation consists of seven factors, ranging from astronomical, such as the rate at which stars are born in the Milky Way, and the number of stars with planets orbiting around them. Other astronomers have pointed out that SETI is searching for radio signals, which would be archaic technology in a civilization more advanced than ours (and are almost archaic in our own civilization).

Our earth first became detectable to intelligent life on other planets in the 1950s, when the planet was full of powerful television and radar transmitters beaming signals into space. Overbye quotes Frank Drake as saying, "We assumed that was the way it was always going to be, both for us and, by extension, for extraterrestrials." But Overbye points out that "now big transmitters are being phased out in favor of cable and satellites that leak hardly anything at all out to space. It's very economical and it's the wave of the future. Earth is gradually going radio quiet."

He quotes Drake as saying, "That's big change nobody anticipated." Once the big powerful transmitters go off the air, "We will still exist but we will be hard to detect."

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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