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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Exciting SETI Plans Move Forward

A press conference was held at an astronomy conference last week to announce a plan to search for extraterrestrial signals similar to those emitted as a byproduct of our Earthly civilization, according to Edna DeVore of the SETI Institute, writing for Space.com.
Loeb and his co-author Matias Zaldarriaga (CfA) suggest looking for accidental leakage from an alien civilization. They point out that the new Mileura Wide-Field Array’s Low Frequency Demonstrator (MWA-LFD), which is designed to study frequencies of 80-300 Megahertz, will pick up the same frequencies used by Earth technologies. On Earth, military radars are the most powerful broadcast sources, followed by television and FM radio.

This search will complement planned targeted searches for extraterrestrial signals.
Dr. Peter Backus, Research Scientist at SETI Institute also spoke at the press conference. He stated that the MDA-LFD represents a good example of the power of the new generation of radio telescopes. Taking advantage of advances in technology, these telescopes are more powerful and flexible than the traditional, large radio telescopes. Using this same design model, “large N, small D” (a large number of small diameter dishes) the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) will ultimately have 350 dishes, each only 6 meters across. ... The ATA will expand the search to higher frequencies that have far less interference and background noise than the lower frequencies that will be observed by the MWA-LFD.

Comments:
I think the best place, ultimately for doing SETI searches at typically "Earth generated" signals is on the far side of the moon.
I know I'm not the first to state the obvious (i.e. that the moon is an excellent shield from our Earth noise). But, sometimes you have to state the obvious to keep it in the group psyche!

Theo
 
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