Was it a horrible idea to send signals into space?

When you're in a house with a murderer, you don't want to make your presence known. But on the global scale we might have done something very similar with our space messages. We don't know what horrible race might find them. Wouldn't it have made more sense to just sit in this far corner of the universe quietly and keep developing our technologies so that we are better prepared for a possible alien conflict? It's kind of a funny thought that the whole Arecibo thing might lead to our demise. And as I understand we can't really take these signals back now.

Share this post


Link to post

Extra terrestrials 

A) Have no context for human culture.

B) Probably find it of interest to receive any signals at all.

C) Are probably sufficiently advanced that they won't be quick to judge us based on information they don't fully understand.

7 people like this

Share this post


Link to post

Because the theme song for Charles In Charge deserves to be shared across the galaxy.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post

Nothing in space would have the means to decode anything we've broadcast. It's not even that likely that our signals/etc would look intentional to a hypothetical observer.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
39 minutes ago, Memfis said:

Wouldn't it have made more sense to just sit in this far corner of the universe quietly and keep developing our technologies so that we are better prepared for a possible alien conflict?

Space is big! By the time those signals reach anything, it's quite probable enough time will have passed to make significant advances in technology.

 

Or, we'll have wiped ourselves out before they had a chance to. Currently we're a much bigger threat to ourselves than potential alien invaders.

Edited by Eris Falling
7 people like this

Share this post


Link to post

Alien response: Can you send another message? We can't understand you!!!

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post

The universe is vast, there are many planets and galaxies yet to be discovered, so no i don't think it was a horrible idea.

Share this post


Link to post
35 minutes ago, Grain of Salt said:

Nothing in space would have the means to decode anything we've broadcast. It's not even that likely that our signals/etc would look intentional to a hypothetical observer.

Signals that are within a few light years' radius of us can probably be at least partially decoded, but you're right otherwise. The level of decay as you go further and further out would probably just appear as noise. However, aliens looking for signals would distinguish these signals from the "ordinary" noise of space and likely recognize where it's emitting from.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, GoatLord said:

Extra terrestrials 

A) Have no context for human culture.

B) Probably find it of interest to receive any signals at all.

C) Are probably sufficiently advanced that they won't be quick to judge us based on information they don't fully understand.

D) Live so far away that they just haven't recieved them yet, or might never

Edited by DoomUK
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post

Will there be signal decay in vacuum?

Share this post


Link to post

It's only bad if the advanced alien race is like us -- finds a new species so they just kill it sans provocation. But if they are like us, how did they ever live long enough to get so advanced?? O.o

 

Indisputable proof that we're fine.

 

Next question: how many African kids are going to die of disease and starvation while we're spending money on signals to outer space?

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post

I'm sure we're fine, unless we get back "be quiet or it will hear you" I'm sure it'll all go well.

 

Edited by mrthejoshmon

Share this post


Link to post
18 minutes ago, Memfis said:

Will there be signal decay in vacuum?

Yeah, the signal simply gets weaker as it spreads out. It's like how a sound wave, as it propagates, gets quieter and quieter the further it travels.

Share this post


Link to post

God i hope they exterminate us 

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
3 minutes ago, GoatLord said:

Yeah, the signal simply gets weaker as it spreads out. It's like how a sound wave, as it propagates, gets quieter and quieter the further it travels.

S = k/r2

 

Where S is signal strength, r is distance across the vacuum, and k is a constant related to the initial strength of the signal.

Share this post


Link to post

The idea of "aliens picking up signals from Earth (usually TV, radio, etc.) has become something of a science fiction staple but it's worth remembering that real life isn't a science fiction story. I think most people don't truly appreciate the sheer distance even to the closest neighboring star, Alpha Centauri.

 

Suppose that you were trying to deliberately send a signal between Earth and Alpha Centauri. If we are ever going to travel to other stars, probably this is something that's going to be quite important to do! Your best bet is something like a really tightly focused laser beam, precisely aimed and as powerful as possible. It turns out that even then you need an antenna the size of the solar system in order to receive the signal at the other end. Here's Vint Cerf, one of the original designers of the Internet, talking about this in the context of his ideas for an interstellar Internet:

 

 

Now consider that:

  • Alpha Centauri is probably uninhabited, and other stars are going to be even further away.
  • Things like TV and radio transmissions are omnidirectionally broadcast with a very limited range, not fired at high intensity with a tightly focused laser beam
  • Aliens are going to receive our signals and go to the incalculable effort of probably thousands of years of journey between stars, all in order to destroy humanity, because ______ ...?

And the whole thing doesn't seem like quite such a risk.

5 people like this

Share this post


Link to post

Yes, it was a bad idea. The movie Pixels never should have been made. 

5 people like this

Share this post


Link to post

The thumbnail for that video makes me pray to God we've forgotten about nonsense like copyright before we start exporting our flaws into outer space :P

4 people like this

Share this post


Link to post

If the aliens are brutal and wish to eradicate humanity for the sake of either survival or starting new settlements , then maybe it was a bad idea . At the moment , the presence of extra-terrestrial outside or inside our galaxy is still a debate since it lacks solid and visual evidence. 

Share this post


Link to post

I'm sure there's life out there, but they must be about aware of us as we are of them. I haven't seen any good enough evidence to believe that "aliens" are out there in crazy spaceships, and some of those UFOs just might be our government's technology that isn't talked about much, because yeah there's some Sci-Fi type stuff we have already accomplished but I don't think we're out there going at warp speed in the vaccuum of space nor do I think anything else is either. I don't know this for sure, but I haven't seen any evidence to suggest otherwise. Knowing OUR species, we only care about fighting each other on this planet let alone some other planet so there's a chance that other lifeforms on similar planets might exhibit similar behavior, even if they are highly evolved and very much advanced. 

Share this post


Link to post

There is no direct or even indirect evidence that life exists outside of Earth, but I think it's far more naïve to assume we're special than to assume we're not. First off, other than life, nothing in universe comes in ones; planets, moons, stars, black holes, asteroids, galaxies and other celestial bodies are plentiful. Hell, there's likely multiple universes, an idea that is basically accepted in modern physics. So we should assume that whatever life is, it probably propagates in more than one location.

 

It's also worth considering that we are arrangements of matter that, after so many billions of years, complicate into biological entities. Matter swirls and swirls and swirls, and eventually extremely novel patterns inevitably emerge. There is no reason to believe that this swirling of matter only produces the novelty of life in one place; more than likely, these patterns are peppered throughout the universe. Now, are we the most advanced biological entities? Possibly. Even if life exists in many places, somewhere there is a species which is more advanced than the others. If there are multiple worlds inhabited by technologically advanced entities, there could be a number of reasons why we haven't heard from them, most notably:

 

1) They are not interested in space travel.

2) They are only interested in exploring the local neighborhood which we are not a part of.

3) They have their sites set on a world closer to them than we are.

4) They annihilated themselves through war before becoming a space faring civilzation.

5) They are on their way, but haven't reached us yet.

6) They do not deem us worthy of a visit.

7) They have visited us, but we don't realize it. Some people believe DMT and psilocybin mushrooms may be biological carriers of aliens which have encoded their consciousness into the fungi and can only communicate with us through consumption, or perhaps we become them through eons of consuming them and thus absorbing their neurotransmitters (which psilocybin fungi have in abundance). Fungi has very peculiar qualities unlike any other organisms on Earth and some spores can survive space travel.

 

Number 7, unsurprisingly, is my favorite, as it is extremely outlandish.

4 people like this

Share this post


Link to post

We (human civilization, not specifically us in this forum) are on the verge of being able to detect whether planets around other stars have life by analyzing the composition of their atmospheres. We could even detect pollution and therefore civilization. The point is that any sufficiently-advanced alien race would have known that Earth has life long before we sent any radio signals.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
5 minutes ago, GoatLord said:

Hell, there's likely multiple universes, an idea that is basically accepted in modern physics.

I'm not very studied in physics, but this statement smells fishy to me. Are we sure that this is an idea that is actually "accepted" in physics, or is it actually just orthogonal to physics? Personally, I chuckle at folks who tell me that they don't believe in God because there's no evidence, and then say that they think there are multiple universes... Get real! (I'm not pinning that belief on you -- I just doubt that there is any evidence for multiple universes, and pointing out some irony while I'm at it.)

 

13 minutes ago, GoatLord said:

Even if life exists in many places, somewhere there is a species which is more advanced than the others.

This is making the assumption that the universe is finite (which is probably safe), because an infinite set could lack a greatest member.

 

4 minutes ago, Empyre said:

We (human civilization, not specifically us in this forum) are on the verge of being able to detect whether planets around other stars have life by analyzing the composition of their atmospheres. We could even detect pollution and therefore civilization.

What type of molecules could not exist without civilization? I'm pretty sure they are all to be found in nature somewhere. These types of things can provide clues, but can't prove the existence of life.

 

Not trying to pick on you guys... just probing your minds, I guess.

Share this post


Link to post
5 hours ago, GoatLord said:

Extra terrestrials 

A) Have no context for human culture.

B) Probably find it of interest to receive any signals at all.

C) Are probably sufficiently advanced that they won't be quick to judge us based on information they don't fully understand.

D) Are terrified they'd hear something at all.

E) Are either so far away or if they were close they're long dead.

Share this post


Link to post

To answer the OP, it might have been a bad idea.  But like the Neanderthals, these few bits of communication may be all that is left of us in the distant future.

However, there is little reason to be concerned as the the likelihood that anything will ever "hear" it is almost absurdly small.
Back in the 80s, the general consensus was that there are so many possible habitable planets, even in the Milky Way galaxy, that life on other planets was not just probable but possibly thousands existed.  From what we can actually see, using the electromagnetic spectrum, of the Milky Way, is about 100 billion stars.  Extrapolate that to the obscured rest of the galaxy and the somewhat-closely estimated mass of the entire galaxy, and it is somewhere between 350-450 billion stars.  Knowing the coalescence method of star/planet formation in an 'ordinary' nebula region, the likelihood of solid planets being formed is high.  But even if there were a trillion planets in the Milky Way, there are dozens of other factors which have to also occur for life to form. 
Personally, I'm not convinced that life can be created out of other elements like methane and silicon.  Carbon's structure of protons allows for its unique ability to bond chemically into a varied set of molecules.  Water is also unique that is bondability and solubility allows for a large number of varied chemical molecules.  If it weren't for the carbon-structured protein strings and H2O's flexibility, biological cells would never exist.  With that said, you need a planet that has constant liquid water.
The Earth has so many fortunate events and components for life to persist into intelligent life.  The sun is a second or third generation star -- needed for the heavier elements to allow life to occur.  We had a second planet crash into us, it briefly combined and the debris of the crash became the moon.  The Earth got an oversized nickel-iron core and more radiation heat out of the collision.  Which, in turn, gave us a very strong magnetosphere to keep most harmful high-energy, high-frequency waves and particles out as well as plate techtonics. The moon also steadies us into a fixed, less-wobbly orbit which keeps the weather and temperature on our planet very even.  Most star systems are binary(two stars together).  We have the massive Jupiter, which didn't have enough mass to become a star. Jupiter keeps many of the smaller objects from making their way into the inner solar system.
There is also the symbiotic relationship between the Earth and life on Earth.  The original single-celled organisms, the CO2-eaters, Pangeaea splitting, India moving into Asia, the Panama isthmus closing or opening, life enriching the atmosphere, etc...  We're in the middle of the probably the calmest weather period in Earth's history -- this is why us weak, soft Homo Sapiens even exist.  (As an aside, if you don't believe Global Warming isn't an alarming problem, you don't know what you are talking about)  Trying to keep this brief.
While this argument doesn't reduce the possibility to zero(certainly not zero, we are here), it does reduce the statistical possibility considerably.
Additionally, as other's mentioned, space is extremely vast.  Our signal won't reach the center of our galaxy for 40,000 years.  So, an answer wouldn't be coming soon.
Lastly, there is circumstantial evidence that life on Earth didn't originate here.  Scientists can recreate monomers(single molecules) of amino acids in the laboratory from the basic constituent elements(and heat and electricity).  However, they have no way of polymerizing them into the polymer protiens like DNA.  It is a real chicken-and-the-egg problem - Without RNA and DNA, there is no instruction set to put them together. The proteins have to exist first to create themselves.  Amino acids are alive as much as ethylene is.  And we have no idea how LIFE makes that leap from monomer to complex polymer.  There is no known evidence of this on Earth... no intermediary step of 20 monomers bonded together or strings of monomers mixing and combining to randomly create life.  Therefore, it is more likely an asteroid or other astronomical body seeded the Earth with life already intact.  More evidence is that all life on this planet originated from one event.
42percenthealth mentioned the multiple universe idea.  Which I think is crap.  By definition, it can never empirically be proven or disproven.  The idea is that, mathematically, string theory contends that there the indeterminacy of Feynman diagrams can exist. That is, the statistical outcome of every outcome for every particle interaction in the entire universe is manifest in some 'parallel world'.  This would mean there is some astronomical(indeed the word astronomical isn't even nearly big enough for this number) number of universes -- something like 10 to the 100600 power or some absurdity.  What I take away from this is that string theory is not restricted by reality -- that is, the math is not bounded.  Crazy things like Time can go in reverse or you can have 9 spacial dimensions or more than one time dimension.  (There actually is a reason or two to believe there may actually be more than 3 spacial dimensions though IMVHO).  

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post

If aliens ever come here, hopefully if they are hostile we can destroy them with our oxygen or water. Imagine fighting against aliens with water guns.

Edited by Nevander

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now