US will begin to teach students to search for extraterrestrial intelligence

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UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The specialty “searching for signals from aliens” may soon become a reality, according to the journal Science.

The University of Pennsylvania began to raise funds for the opening of the Pennsylvania Center for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (PSETI ). It is planned to attract 110 million dollars (more than seven billion rubles at the exchange rate for March 4, 2019). If the amount is collected in full, this money will create educational programs for students and jobs for researchers.

We note that today the center has received only $ 3.5 million for its development (more than two hundred million rubles at the rate of March 4, 2019. This amount will make it possible for the university to create a new position of “professor of aliens.”

“There is really no academic ecosystem for this area as a whole,” explains University Officer Jason Wright , who will lead the new center. “But you cannot work on [this kind of research] without students and postdocs.”

Wright managed to count only five people with a PhD (similar to a Russian Ph.D.) who would be employed in SETI research. Recall that the last abbreviation – an abbreviation for the phrase Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, that is, “search for extraterrestrial intelligence.”

“It takes a special type of person to enter an area that is not funded and offers few job opportunities,” says Wright.

The fact is that in 1993, the US Congress banned the US space agency NASA from funding programs to search for signals from extraterrestrial civilizations. Since then, this industry has suffered underfunding.

This situation is explained by the fact that most astronomers are skeptical about the idea of ​​finding “brothers in mind.” And for good reason. We do not know whether they exist at all , how often they occur in the Universe, and what traces of their activity may be like. In addition, no one knows whether to try to contact hypothetical alien civilizations and how this kind of projects for humanity can end.

How will a being that is biologically completely different from us think? We don’t know that. The human psyche is a product of the work of the brain, and a completely different organism would possibly generate an absolutely different mind. Will it occur to him (appendix, tentacle, pseudopod …) that aliens exist somewhere? Does he think it necessary to send them some signals? Will you use radio for this , as is supposed in most SETI projects? All these questions remain unanswered.

Even if you do not take all this into account, the time factor remains. Homo sapiens as a species exists only 200–300 thousand years , and the scientific method and ideology of progress and the study of nature – for several centuries. What will even humanity well known to us (and not mysterious aliens) look like in five hundred, one thousand, one million years? What it will want and what to be able is a mystery.

Meanwhile, the stars (and, accordingly, their planets) are very different in age. One is only tens of millions of years old, while others are more than five billion. Even if we assume that the Earth 2.0 exists somewhere, we need fantastic luck in every sense of the word to catch its population at our own stage of development.

Finally, there is one more argument. The universe is intensively studied in all ranges. And, if aliens really transmit signals to us that we can recognize as artificial, or construct certain structures visible in a telescope , we will sooner or later find them without targeted searches.

Under these conditions, most astronomers prefer that money, which is allocated less for science even in the richest countries than scientists would like, should be spent on more specific research.

So far we are talking more about finding a needle in a haystack, and we don’t even have a suitable magnet, and we don’t yet know what the needle looks like. On the other hand, if no one engages in the development of SETI ideas, then there will be no chance of creating the very “magnet” of humanity.

However, it is impossible to say that the lack of funding stops enthusiastic people. So, some enthusiasts attract artificial intelligence to searches of other civilizations , the latter offer lighthouse projects so that aliens notice us themselves , and still others believe that we have not yet found brothers in mind just because we didn’t look well.

This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.

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