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Big new telescope array to search for extraterrestrial alien signals

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While the new telescopic array, to be called PANOSETI can be used for various things, it has one dramatic purpose:

This project is a collaboration between UC San Diego, UC Berkeley, University of California Observatories, and Harvard University, the purpose of which is to build a dedicated optical SETI observatory capable of scanning the entire observable sky. The system will undoubtedly be used to observe natural phenomena, such as fast radio bursts—mysterious pulses of energy emanating from outside our galaxy. PANOSETI could also be used to study pulsars, evaporating primordial black holes, among other known and unknown celestial phenomena.

That’s all fine and well—and certainly very important—but the real purpose of PANOSETI is to detect alien signals. Unlike radio SETI, these telescopes will seek out brief but powerful flashes of optical light, as well as quick bursts of infrared radiation.

George Dvorsky, “The Search for Aliens Is About to Get a Serious Upgrade” at Gizmodo

The nice thing about SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) projects is that it makes very little difference if we don’t find anything. It’s not as though any conclusion can be drawn from a failure to find anything. We will just indulge in another round of speculations as to why we don’t. It’s not always clear why this is a science and not a religion. But hey.

Also from Dvorsky at Gizmodo: Are we doomed unless we get ourselves digitized? A tech writer suggests humans can escape Earth’s end by digitizing ourselves elsewhere in the galaxy. Today’s apocalyptic vision seems now to have moved on from the arrival of the extraterrestrials to uploading ourselves to a supercomputer. Whether it’s possible is really secondary. The main question is whether it answers a cultural need for a vision that mirrors the inner turmoil of the day.

See also: Tales of an invented god

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Previous SETI projects were vanity toys for rich tech types. This one seems to have a lot of government involvement. When government claims to be looking for aliens, it's usually just beta testing its own vehicles. In the '50s Project Blue Book claimed to be watching for UFOs, and the Ground Observer Corps claimed to be watching for Russki invaders. In fact both were determining whether people could spot the latest US stealthy missiles and planes. polistra
To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. To believers, everything looks like a religion. Seversky
Oh it answers a cultural need down here. No doubt about that. It's that reaching for immortality thing we're fascinated with. But the non-religious have to do it with technology. EDTA

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