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Seth Shostak on Nat Geo

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Astronomer Seth Shostak is searching for signs of intelligent life beyond Earth you know, I wouldn't do it if I didn't think that there is some reasonable hope, that in my lifetime, we are going to pick up that signal that tells us what we want to know This little speck of metal is picking up signals that may be coming from hundreds of trillions of miles it's like a tin can with a string that runs at a hundreds of trillions of miles. We could hear a cell phone on Jupiter, if there were any. That's how sensitive the system is What we are listening for is not much alien per se but their equipment if you will we are listening for a transmitter Do aliens know we're here? They do not know that we are here, because the only way they could be aware that there are some sort of technical sophisticated creature on this planet is by the television and the radio signals we have been sending out be have only been doing that for half century, so those signs are not terribly far out in space. If aliens come here what can we expect? If they actually come here I would be nervous certainly the experience on Earth has been that: When explorers come to visit you that's usually bad news for you you know, I'm thinking about Native Americans, when the Spaniards landed on the coast they didn't meet the average nice guy, a Spaniard who run a restaurant in Segovia they met the very ambitious ones, who were interested in your gold, women or whatever What will they look like? It is unlikely that they are going to be the size of a thin ball or something like that because by definition they are going to be intelligent otherwise we are not going to find them we are not going to find cockroaches in somebody else's world, those guys are not building radio transmitters that we can pick up with our big antennas so they have to be brainy and in order to be brainy at least on this planet you need a certain number of neurons a mininum brain size and that rules out to be very tiny is it also unlikely that they'd be very large if you get very large, you get into other problems, you can't stand up so easily you can't wheel tools you'd use too many resources on your own you know, they are bigger than a bread box and probably smaller than an elephant would be my guess Will we find an extraterrestrial signal? Well I think it's going to happen, I think it may take a few decades yet but it is not ... to me it is not a question of waiting centuries I really think is within in sight book available at National Geographic Books

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 17 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Views: 369
Posted by: southseeker on May 22, 2009

In this book, Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute, provides an insider's view of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Informative and entertaining, you'll discover first-hand just how close we are to alien contact. Available at

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