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- Environmental Issues / Climate Change
- Space Exploration
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Douglas Vakoch, Ph.D. President of METI–Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence, disrupting conventional science as “The Man Who Speaks for Earth.”
Sónar launches Sónar Calling GJ 273b, a pioneering project uniting music and science to connect and communicate with alien life.
For over fifty years, astronomers have pointed their telescopes to the sky, looking for signals from advanced civilizations—a project called SETI, the search for extraterrestrial civilizations. So far, they've found nothing. But what if there *are* other civilizations out there, but they're doing exactly what we are doing—simply listening, and not transmitting? Dr. Vakoch advocates a new approach to making contact called Active SETI, where we don't simply listen for signals from extraterrestrials, but instead we send powerful, intentional radio signals to other star systems, in the hope of receiving a reply.
As astronomers launch ambitious projects for Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence, alarmists worry that transmitting intentional radio and laser signals into space may provoke an alien invasion. These critics overlook one fundamental fact: it's too late to hide. Any extraterrestrial civilization capable of coming to Earth to do us harm already knows we're here through the accidental radio and television signals that have been streaming out over the past century. Rather than cower in our corner of the universe, we should grow up and reach out, sending a clear message that we want to make contact with other intelligence in the cosmos.
GOOD talked to Douglas Vakoch, President of METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence), about sending messages toward star systems light years away, initiating interstellar communications that could span generations, and challenging our mindset about vast time scales. This is part of a series, The Long Game, exploring the impact, benefits, and risks of long-term thinking.