Friday, May 22, 2009

The hunt

Colbert: What would constitute – y’know – a “Howdy!” from space

Shostak: Well you’re looking for the kind of signal transmitters make, not the kind of signal nature makes – quasars and pulsars, that sort of thing. You’re looking for the kind of signals [for example] a television broadcaster would make.

Colbert: Well, maybe they use quasars and pulsars to send signals.

Shostak: They’re bad engineers if they do that. Those signals are all over the band.

2 comments:

Sagan_Lives said...

Shostak is correct, as far as he goes. Spewing power over a broad band is wasteful. But suppose an advanced civilization could somehow modulate a quasar's radiation in a way that showed intelligent design. Then the signal's broad bandwidth would maximize the likelihood of detection without undue power consumption.

AMAMMAL said...

This technique would risk running afoul of UCC* rules regulating spurious emissions.

*Universe Communications Commission