02.23.2010 01:00 PM
DTV Cut Transmission to Space Aliens
LONDON: Space aliens could be staring us in the face
and we wouldn’t know it. That was the verdict of the Queen’s astronomer and
president of the Royal Society, addressing a conference of the National Science
Academy in Great Britain. Lord Martin Rees compared the human understanding of
extraterrestrial life forms to that of a chimpanzee trying to perceive quantum
“It could be there as aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our
brains,” Rees said, according to The Telegraph.
The conference, entitled “The detection of extra-terrestrial life and the
consequences for science and society,” was held last month at the Royal Society
in London. Speakers included Dr. Frank Drake, founder of the Search for
Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute, or SETI, which uses possibly the
biggest cloud computing configuration on this planet to monitor radio frequency
bursts from other planets. Dr. Drake said the explosion of satellite TV and
digital technology had diminished the transmission of TV and radio signals into
outer space, thereby limiting Earth’s ping to neighboring civilizations. (Space debris, as depicted in this image from the European Space Agency, is another obstacle to extraterrestrial chat sessions.)
Dr. Drake said Earth is surrounded by 50 light-years worth of radiated wave
energy, ostensibly in the form of “I Love Lucy,” “Little Rascals” and McHale’s
Navy.” He said ending analog TV broadcasting greatly reduced the planet’s RF
emissions escaping the exosphere and thereby notifying other non-Earth species
of life on the blue planet. The current wave of energy emitted by
communications on the planet would now appear as noise to searching space
Telegraph reports Drake as saying.
SETI warned of space alien disenfranchisement last June, when the United States
completed its transition to digital television.
More on TV-loving space aliens:
June 19, 2009: “Space aliens
disenfranchised by DTV Transition”
Extraterrestrials who might be picking up our analog broadcasts could miss
out. Ever since the Second World War, television signals, as well as FM radio
and radar, have served as homo sapiens’ emissaries into deep space.