Targeted SETI Search Hears Nothing
For this search, a team targeted 104 stars with planets discovered by the Kepler Telescope. Still nothing.
Space.com told how veteran SETI queen Jill Tarter was among the team using the Green Bank Radio Telescope in West Virginia to look for radio signals between 1.1 and 1.9 GHz – a range SETI enthusiasts believe would be the most likely for alien broadcasts, because it includes the range used by humans for cell phones and television.
MIT Technology Review’s ArXiv Blog discussed an upcoming paper for the Astrophysical Journal available as a preprint on ArXiv. “No signals of extraterrestrial origin were found,” the paper states tersely. The blog comments:
The results allow the team to put important limits on the likelihood of Kardashian [sic] Type II civilisations. Tarter and co say that the negative result implies that the number of these civilisations that are loud in the 1-2GHz range must [sic] less than one in a million per sun-like star.
PhysOrg defined the term: “a Kardashev type II civilization ([is] named after Nikolai Kardashev, who came up with a 3 tiered scale of intelligent existence: those that use the resources from a planet, their sun, or a galaxy, respectively)….” Apparently the blogger had a certain celebrity socialite in mind; that alien has been found, but her intelligence is questioned by some.
Imagine a planet filled with Kim Kardashian types! Yikes! That’s a really funny Freudian slip. Maybe the Type II Kardashian civilization is when a Kim babe marries a Carl Sagan type, and they search happily ever after.
We can’t be too hard on the SETI believers, if they are using private funding, because they really are looking for a needle in a million haystacks, having to make lots of assumptions. Remember that “less than one in a million” includes “less than one in a gazillion” given zero results. They can argue that silence is to be expected given the nature of the search. It’s still silent, though, even when looking at the best candidate stars. Let them look; it keeps them out of trouble, and their methods give backhanded support to intelligent design theory.