On April 8, 1960, a young American astronomer, Frank Drake, turned a radio telescope toward the star Tau Ceti and listened for several hours to see if he could detect any artificial radio signals. With this modest start began a worldwide project of potentially momentous significance. Known as SETI - Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence - it is an amalgam of science, technology, adventure, curiosity and a bold vision of humanity's destiny. Drake has said that SETI is really a search for ourselves - who we are and what our place might be in the grand cosmic scheme of things.
Yet with one tantalizing exception, SETI has produced only negative results. After millions of hours spent eavesdropping on the cosmos astronomers have detected only the eerie sound of silence. What does that mean? Are we in fact alone in the vastness of the universe? Is ET out there, but not sending any messages our way? Might we be surrounded by messages we simply don't recognize? Is SETI a waste of time and money, or should we press ahead with new and more sensitive antennas? Or look somewhere else? And if a signal were to be received, what then? How would we - or even should we - respond
In what has become known as Fermi's Paradox, the great nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi once asked, if there are aliens out there, where is everybody? After 50 years of looking, the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project has likewise failed to find anybody. Cosmologist Davies (The Mind of God), winner of the 1995 Templeton Prize, believes that SETI's search for narrow-band radio signals from planets around other stars needs to be broadened to look for other possible signs of life. Aliens may be using far more advanced technology than radio to signal the cosmos, such as manipulating pulsars to act as beacons or even neutrino signaling. Davies also puts forth the possibility that alien probes may be silently trolling the solar system. The author surveys popular topics in science fiction such as Dyson spheres, time travel, and wormholes, and decides that they're not feasible under physics as we understand it. He concludes with a far-ranging look at what might happen here on Earth when we make first contact. Highly recommended for both science fiction and astronomy buffs. Illus.
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Great book. Thorough cross examination of the whole endeavour in looking for ET and what we might find and how that would effect us. It feels like you left no stone unturned in exploring the thought process in this quest. Fascinating and provoking. A must read for anyone who has ever wondered about this subject.
An interesting and thought provoking book!