There is a close interrelation between searching for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) and messaging to extraterrestrial intelligence (METI). For example, the answers to the questions "Where to search" and "Where to send" are equivalent, in that both require an identical selection from the same target star lists. Similar considerations lead to a strategy of time synchronization between sending and searching. Both SETI and METI use large reflectors. The concept of "magic frequencies" may be applicable to both SETI and METI. Efforts to understand an alien civilization's interstellar messages (IMs), and efforts to compose our own IMs so they will be easily understood by unfamiliar extraterrestrials, are mutually complementary. Furthermore, the METI-question: "How can we benefit from sending IMs, if a response may come only thousands of years later?" begs an equivalent SETI-question: "How can we benefit from searching, if it is impossible now to perceive the motivations and feelings of those who may have sent messages in the distant past?" A joint consideration of the theoretical and the practical aspects of both sending and searching for IMs, in the framework of a unified, disciplined scientific approach, can be quite fruitful. We seek to resolve the cultural disconnect between those who advocate sending interstellar messages, and others who anathematize those who would transmit.
- Pub Date:
- September 2008
- Physics - Popular Physics
- 6 pages, 3 figures, to appear in the proceedings of "International Asronautical Congress 2007", Hyderbad, India