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 theory.
“It could be there as aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains,” Rees said, according to TheTelegraph.
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 aliens, The 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.
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