Reasons for Optimism in the Search for E.T.

I wish to thank Harlan J. Smith for his flattering review of my book The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (The Scientist, February 9, 1987, p. 21). He fears that I'm too optimistic we'll find signs of E.T. within the next decade or so, but there are many reasons for this. First, never before in history will the sky have been searched so thoroughly (for example, by Ohio State, the Harvard/Planetary Society, NASA and the Soviet SETI projects). Also, the Planetary Society is now discussing

Thomas Mcdonough
Mar 22, 1987
I wish to thank Harlan J. Smith for his flattering review of my book The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (The Scientist, February 9, 1987, p. 21). He fears that I'm too optimistic we'll find signs of E.T. within the next decade or so, but there are many reasons for this.

First, never before in history will the sky have been searched so thoroughly (for example, by Ohio State, the Harvard/Planetary Society, NASA and the Soviet SETI projects). Also, the Planetary Society is now discussing with Argentina the possibility of establishing a Southern Hemisphere SETI.

Second, an advanced civilization may use a sizable fraction of its sun's energy output. This may lead to detectable side effects, just as our radio, radar, TV and atmospheric nuclear weapons tests have produced inadvertent signals an alien astronomer might find.

Third, the numerous Earth- and space-based observatories could find the first signs...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?