Follow Monte Ross of the Laser Space Signal Observatory as he explores the challenges in searching for evidence of extraterrestrials, the programs that have failed, and those that continue. The author circumvents the failure of searches at radio frequencies by developing the argument for searching for transmissions in the optical range of the electromagnetic spectrum.
You'll learn the fundamental considerations and the physics of all the laser, UV, IR, and RF technologies involved in the search for extraterrestrials, as well as all the coding and information theory considerations. You'll discover that the search using RF leaves more than 99% of the electromagnetic spectrum unexamined. The author therefore explores the complete electromagnetic spectrum, taking into consideration all the ways that extraterrestrials might try to communicate with us.
Throughout the presentation, all the ideas, concepts, and approaches are explained clearly, without the use of complex math or physics, making the book accessible to anyone. Given mankind's intrinsic desire to explore, the search for extraterrestrials will continue until success is achieved, which may be tomorrow or a millennium away.
Part I. Problems.- Vast distances, long travel time, weak signals.- Billions of stars in our galaxy-where to look?.- Expectations of why anyone would contact us.- Drakes Equation in detail results in low probability.- How big is big?.- Noise and limitations on sensitivity.- Part II. Programs.- The history of SETI.- RF SETI.- Specific RF programs.- Failed efforts.- Enlistment of millions of PC's.- Optical SETI Beginnings.- Value of short pulses and early efforts.- Harvard All-sky dedicated system.- Part III. Possibilities.- Photon Star Project.- Moon station and Space Receivers.- IR and UV systems.- Information in the pulse train.- Sending pictures with pulses.- Future of SETI.
From the reviews: "Ross begins by reviewing the vast distances involved in a search, such as the density of stars in space and how long it takes light to travel to Earth. ! Copious illustrations are very helpful in facilitating an understanding of many of the technical details. Ross has produced a well-organized ! book that covers the basics of SETI very well. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates and general readers." (M.-K. Hemenway, Choice, Vol. 47 (10), June, 2010)