University in the USA creates the first massive project in the world for search for post-physical lifeforms
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An university in the USA was the first one in the world to create a massive project for search for post-physical lifeforms and the development of post-physical telescopes. The task was created by a group of researchers from Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Hawaii.
According to a statement published on the Web site of the "National Science Foundation," this first project will be in full swing by the end of 2014, and will be carried out in the state of Washington. The budget of the project is estimated at more than $7 million, which will be spent in about five years.
The goal of the project is to investigate such phenomena as electromagnetic waves and gravitational waves and to create the best possible instruments for the observations and measurements. These experiments will be carried out on the project "Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory," or "Advanced LIGO," which is part of the "LIGO Scientific Collaboration."
An earlier announcement about the creation of the project, which is the first large-scale project of the type in the history of science, was published on the "National Science Foundation" website on May 4, 2014. In the meantime, its purpose and specifics of the experiment have been discussed at the American Physical Society annual meeting. The first phase of the project is planned for completion by 2019 and is expected to become fully operational in 2020.
The search for extraterrestrial life is still a theoretical exercise. However, in the past there have been many ideas about it. One of the most famous hypotheses is the "Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence" (SETI) by Frank Drake, an American astronomer and radio engineer. Drake proposed the idea of searching for alien intelligence and for some artificial signals (for example, in the form of radio signals) in the sky. The first of such attempts was conducted in 1960.
Other proponents of the SETI project include the astronomers Steven S. Schweber and John M. Giardine. Schweber is a specialist in the subject, and Giardine is a specialist in astrometry and cosmology.
In addition to Drake, two other eminent scientists who were involved in the development of SETI are the author of science fiction Michael Kurland and the Nobel Prize winner Francis Crick.
The "LIGO" project is one of the first practical applications of the idea. This technology has already been used for searching for and studying black holes. The idea of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is based on the assumption that life on other planets is similar to life on Earth, which does not correspond to the general principles of life. Life on Earth is unique, and, therefore, the question arises whether it can happen on other planets. If life forms other than ours are found, there will be many problems. And if the life forms found on other planets differ from our own, there will be a huge problem for the theory of evolution.
The first attempts to create the SETI project started in the 1960s. The Soviet, American, and British governments supported the project, but the program failed to find anything significant. This was not the fault of the scientists involved in the project - they did their best to search the whole sky. The problem was that there are so many stars that the only way to look at them is to make an all-sky search.
The main difficulties of the SETI project are not its technical aspects but the fact that, according to astrophysics, the probability of intelligent life on other planets is so small. A search for intelligent life can therefore be considered a kind of lottery. The lottery is conducted by Nature, so that one cannot say exactly how many results can be expected. But the probability is also not great for any life form to be found. As it is difficult to estimate the probability of receiving a result, the chance of receiving a result from any one of the projects may be considered to be the same.
In 2009, the SETI project conducted the SETI All-Sky-Survey. The scope of the survey was much wider than before. At present, any radio signal with the length of two seconds is treated as interesting. The program will be completed in the early 2030s, which means that we will be able to estimate the results of the search. The SETI program, however, does not limit its scope to radio-emitting objects and will also continue to observe other types of sources.
The problem of creating the SETI project is that the chances of receiving a signal are very small. Moreover, the chances that our life will be detected by extraterrestrials are even smaller. On the other hand, the project aims at creating a network of observers who can monitor for radio signals and who will have all of the necessary equipment. Even a small probability is worth the efforts involved in the project. The project team will also analyze the data to improve the chances of detecting intelligent signals in the future. This will create the possibility that, sooner or later, we can communicate with extraterrestrials in our space. The program started in 1950 and is financed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The SETI project is just one project in the area of looking for alien life. The scope of these projects will, however, remain largely unchanged for the time being. The reason for this is that there are many questions for which the answers are difficult to find. It can be assumed that the scope of future space projects will be much broader. In the past, the search for extraterrestrial civilizations has been focused mainly on radio waves, but in the future, there is a real danger that the range of electromagnetic radiation will be expanded to the point that a signal from an extraterrestrial civilization will fall within a frequency range in which we are sensitive. This means that we will need to find ways of interpreting such signals in a way that will make it possible to deduce whether they are from extraterrestrial or terrestrial civilizations.
There are three problems of interstellar communication that can make this task difficult. Firstly, there is the problem of interference. A signal received by an extraterrestrial civilization can reach the Earth in such a way that it has been affected by numerous effects (e.g. solar flares, lightning, etc.). There is also a risk that the signal will be altered during the process of transmission to the Earth. The possibility that a signal is received has therefore been greatly reduced and has created the need for more advanced decoding methods. There is also the problem that the extraterrestrial signal can be received by the terrestrial observers (i.e. by a large number of people at the same time).
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