Is ET Out There?

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by Norman, Dec 13, 2003.

  1. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    I'm sure chimps would be able to speak human languages, at least in a slow and limited fashion, if they had the right vocal apparatus. They can learn sign language, after all. In fact, many domestic animals - dogs and pigs, certainly - may well understand more of our speech than we give them credit for, although not the higher theoretical concepts.

    I am not saying that they will inevitably develop complex languages of their own, in the course of future evolution. It would only happen if selective survival favoured it overwhelmingly.
     
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  3. MarcAC Curious Registered Senior Member

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    Well I'm not sure if anyone posted this already, however, that fact is that the universe is estimated to be 13.6 billion years old I think and based on the current estimate of the width of the universe (156 billion light years wide) we can only expect to ever recieve communication from (or see for that matter), at most, maybe 8% of our whole universe as it is now. From this Enrico Fermi's argument; "If they were out there they'd be here" can only be applied to a limited distance away from us. This all due to Einsteins Relativity - unless the Tachyons (faster than light particles) of the quantum physicists have any real equivalent.
     
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  5. 2inquisitive The Devil is in the details Registered Senior Member

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    I have never understood why everyone considers communication based on radio waves
    as being the only possible means of an advanced race communicating. The Einstein-
    Rosen Paradox (ERP), quantum entanglement, 'spooky action at a distance' or whatever else you want to call it, is the obvious answer for a technologically advanced
    race, including us in the future. I know relativity states 'information' cannot be transmitted faster than light, but that seems more of a barrier based on theory than
    on reality. We are just now beginning to be able to use quantum entanglement and
    are really 'beginners' at this technology, but I believe much more knowledge will come
    in the future. Entangled photons communicate with each other 'instantly' over any
    distance, not limited to 300,000 kilometers per second. Here is a short excerpt from
    a recent paper in which both the encrypted message and the encryption key were
    both transmitted by quantum entanglement:
    Entangled photon pairs enable absolutely secure transfer of information
    In quantum cryptography, a data key for encoding messages is created using quantum
    technologies. It provides solutions for two problems yet unsolved by today’s commonly used
    classical cryptography systems: The creation and the transfer of absolutely random keys.
    On the one hand, the security of the produced keys is based on the laws of Nature – and not
    on the complicated mathematical procedures used by today’s systems. On the other hand,
    quantum cryptography simplifies the distribution of the keys. Trustworthy human messengers
    who personally deliver a key, still the common carriers of information in cases of highly
    confidential transfer of information, are finally a thing of the past. The keys can now be
    produced simultaneously by transmitter and receiver – the transfer is made redundant."
    http://www.quantenkryptographie.at/Quantum Cryptography 21 April 04.pdf
     
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  7. Norman Atta Boy Registered Senior Member

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    Well it's quite obvious that if there are planets out there with intelligent life on them in galaxies that are at the extreme edge of the 156 billion light year range, then I wouldn't get to excited over the possibility that you'll hear from them anytime to soon.....

    Atta Boy
     
  8. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    @2inquisitive: this superluminal communication by entangled photon pairs is a fascinating idea - but the pairs have to be produced in the same location, then transmitted to separate sites between which they serve as the duplex link! Thus we could not set up our instananeous comm line to the other side of the Universe until one of our entagled photons made its way there... which rather defeats the object!

    Unless, of course, aliens came across this technique aeons ago and sent beams of entagled photons out "on spec", along with instuctions on how to confine and utilise them...
     
  9. Norman Atta Boy Registered Senior Member

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    Is there away where you can "untangle" the photon pairs and maybe have a little better superluminal communication? It seems to work at drive-in movies........

    Atta Boy
     
  10. 2inquisitive The Devil is in the details Registered Senior Member

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    I was thinking along the lines of communication between a probe or spacecraft and its
    home planet and possibly for use on the planet itself for communication. In addition
    to giving secure data transfer and communication, an advanced race may not feel
    secure broadcasting there whereabouts to other regions of space through radio waves
    or any other EM frequency. Especially if they were aware of a developing war-like
    planet anywhere around that might be able to intercept the EM transmissions.
     
  11. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    Then it would be like an interstellar telegraph: you have to deploy the lines first, at a rate limited by the speed of light, and after that you can communicate along them far more rapidly?
     
  12. 2inquisitive The Devil is in the details Registered Senior Member

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    Yes, that would be my limited understanding of the process. I don't know what the
    possibilities may ultimately be, thought. We used to have a telegraph too, before
    we realized we could have communication by satellite all over the earth. I would
    think our technology would keep advancing to include things not even thought of
    today.
     
  13. Pete It's not rocket surgery Moderator

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    10,166
    It is not necessarily true to say that entangled photons 'communicate' instantly in that way. It is certainly true that it is impossible to pass information through quantum entanglement.

    In quantum cryptography, only the encryption key is shared through entanglement. After the key is discovered, the message is encrypted and sent through ordinary channels. (Unless I'm sadly mistaken, of course. I can't access your link at this time).

    Note also that the key isn't actually transmitted, but only discovered.
    Neither party knows before the other what the key will be - both discover it at the same time.

    Quantum encryption is identical in practice to having an authority generate a random key and send it to both parties before their transmission. The only difference is that with quantum encryption, there is no way that the key can be intercepted.
     
  14. 2inquisitive The Devil is in the details Registered Senior Member

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    Crisp, seems you are correct in that only the key is transmitted via quantum entanglement. I had first read of this banking transfer in a poplar press article
    and I understood them to say both key and message were transmitted by quantum
    entanglement. Here is another excerpt from the paper that seems to state the
    message was sent over the same optical cable but via data channel:

    "At the transmitter station in the Bank Austria Creditanstalt branch office, a laser produces the
    two entangled photon pairs in a crystal. One of the two photons is sent via the glass fiber
    data channel to the City Hall, the other one remains at the bank. Both the receiver in the City
    Hall and the transmitter in the bank then measure the properties of their particles.
    The measuring results are then converted into a string of 0s and 1s – the cryptographic key.
    The sequence of the numbers 0 and 1 is, due to the laws of quantum physics, completely
    random. Identical strings of random numbers, used as the key for encoding the information,
    are produced both in the bank and the City Hall.
    The information is encoded using the so-called “one time pad” procedures. Here, the key is
    as long as the message itself. The message is linked with the key bit by bit and then
    transferred via the glass fibre data channel."

    So it seems the information was sent by quantum entanglement, but the message itself travels at the normal velocity of a photon through the fiber
    optic cable.
    I did come across another article I found interesting, also. Here is an excerpt:

    "But many scientists believed entanglement broke down if the photons ever interacted with anything.

    Now, Erwin Altewischer and his team at Leiden University in the Netherlands have shown this is not true. They used a crystal to split photons into pairs of lower energy photons with different and entangled polarisations. They then fired these entangled photons at gold sheets thick enough to block light.
    The sheets were peppered with holes 200 nanometres wide. Although the holes were too small for light to squeeze through, Altewischer found the photons created waves of electrons on the gold surface called plasmons that passed through the holes and re-emitted the photons on the other side. Measurements showed that the emitted photons were still entangled."

    http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992564
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2004
  15. Pete It's not rocket surgery Moderator

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    I like that - it raises very interesting questions!
     
  16. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    Quantum computing would be the most obvious advantage of exploiting this entaglement effect. Imagine having access to thousands of times the processing power your normal hardware posseses?

    But could it allow communication with other quantum realities - alternate versions of oneself? :m:
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2004
  17. CobaltSunrise Registered Member

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    That's called Moore's Law. Wait a few months and regular ol' transistors-and-silicon will do the trick without help from quantum trickery.

    As for ET: the Drake equation has been around for awhile now. Which number do you want to haggle over?

    N = N* fp ne fl fi fc fL

    Where N* is the total number of stars in the galaxy; fp is the fraction of stars that have planets; ne is the fraction of those planets that can support life; fl is the fraction of life-supporting planets where life has actually evolved; and fi is the fraction of life-bearing planets where intelligent life has evolved.

    Now, for the purposes of SETI, fc and fL are important: fc is the fraction of intelligent species that are willing/trying to communicate, and fL is the lifetime of those civilizations that are trying to communicate. But for the purposes of just trying to guess if ET exists, we can ignore those last two factors.

    Personally, I find ET as irrelevant as god. If we ever did contact ET, the alien-lovers among us would be very disappointed to realize that ET did not have all the answers and know all the secrets and hold all the keys --just as ET's alien-lovers among them would be very disappointed to realize that humans do not have all the answers and know all the secrets and hold all the keys. Mutual civilization-threatening disappointment. ET is not the meaning of life --but ah, this last paragraph is more philosophy than physics

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  18. BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin! Registered Senior Member

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    Yeah, all the poor bastards who got the wrong answers. Heh.
     
  19. Norman Atta Boy Registered Senior Member

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    If there are ETs out there in deep space and if they knew we were here, it's doubtful they would be to concerned about the earth and it's problems. If they did, they would have come here a long time ago and did their thing. If the earth ever reaches an advanced technological stage where it can reach out and threaten other intelligent life living on other planets in other solar systems ("The Day The Earth Stood Still" circa: 1951), then I think ET would want to come here and take care of business.......

    Atta Boy
     
  20. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    Strange to think that an alien race far in advance of us, and having "all the answers," would seem a threat to us in a very real way

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    - and yet, ET not being perfect or any better than we might also be threatening as a massive cultural disillusion.

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    On must admit - the Universe will be a much simpler place if we truly are alone. Not as interesting, of course.

    As for how ETs may react to discovering us: we would either seem irrelevent & beneath their notice, as Norman described; a danger to their religion and philosophy; or (hopefully) interesting enough to study and talk to, even if not to emulate.
     
  21. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    GREAT SCOTT!! It's been all of 2 days now, and no-one has replied... can this thread finally have died?!
     
  22. Norman Atta Boy Registered Senior Member

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    I think sometime in the future there may be some initial contact by ET which will probably just be by accident where ET was just beaming radio signals out from somewhere in the galaxy, maybe 20,000 years ago and we just happen to pick it up........I'm sure no one in the galaxy knows about planet the earth harbouring so-called intelligent life, for if they did I'm sure most ETs would probably ignor us anyway because the distances are far to vast to send emails.........

    Atta Boy

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  23. Persol I am the great and mighty Zo. Registered Senior Member

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    Also, the math used to defend ET goes against ET visiting here.

    Just about every calc I've seen shows very few space faring races. At the same time they show very many habitable planets, and even more planets in general.

    Unless an ET race knew we were here, chances are they wouldn't be visiting. They aren't going to find us by chance.
     

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