It was a project that built a thousand dreams among the stars.
Fifty years ago, NASA published a 253 -page book called Project Cyclops. He summarized the results of NASA’s workshop on finding alien civilizations. The assembled group of astronomers, engineers, and biologists concluded that Cyclops, a large radio telescope with an antenna 1,000 100 meters in diameter, was needed. At the time, the project cost $ 10 billion. Astronomers say it can detect strange signs up to 1,000 light -years away.
The report began with a quote from astronomer frank drake, now Professor Emeritus, University of California, Santa Cruz:
Today, with certainty, the waves broadcast by other intelligent civilizations are falling to Earth. Telescopes can be designed that can be pointed at the right location and adjusted to the extent to which these waves can be detected. One day, from somewhere among the stars, there will be answers to the oldest, most important and exciting questions posed by mankind.
Cyclops report, long unpublished But available on the Internet has become a bible for a generation of astronomers drawn to the dream of being able to answer scientific questions.
Jill Tarter, who read the report as a graduate student and dedicated her life to seeking divine intelligence, “for the first time we had technology that allowed us to experiment without asking priests and philosophers, he said in an interview ten years ago.
The Cyclops and the work that inspired me this week reminded me of a time when the Word was shining around the world when Chinese astronomers saw signs on the airwaves that have characteristics from extraterrestrial civilizations. – that is, it has a very narrow bandwidth. 140.604 MHz, a well -defined quality that it cannot do alone.
They saw this with a huge new telescope called the Five Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope, or FAST. The telescope pointed to the exoplanet Kepler 438 b, a rocky planet about 1.5 times the size of Earth and orbiting the so-called Kepler 438 habitat, a red dwarf star that has hundreds of distance in the Lyra constellation. The earth’s temperature is estimated at 37 degrees Fahrenheit[37 ° C]making it a life -saver.
So quickly, an article in the Science and Technology Daily about vision disappeared. Chinese astronomers throw cold water on the product.
Zhang Tongjie, chief scientist at ET. China Civilization Research Group, the newspaper reported André Jones, journalist Those who follow Chinese developments in space and astronomy have said: “The likelihood of a suspicious signal being a type of radio interference is also very high and needs more reinforcement or elimination. it will be a long process. ”
“These signals are radio interference; they are due to radio pollution from the inhabitants of the earth, not ET, ”he wrote in an email.
It has become a classic story. For half a century, SETI, or extraterrestrial intelligence, has been moles, finding promising signs before following them with moving satellites, microwave ovens, and other terrestrial sources. Drake himself pointed a radio telescope at two stars in the 1960s and soon thought he had found gold, only to discover that radar had lost the signal.
Recently, a signal that appeared to be from the explosion of the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, was observed on Radio Interference in Australia.
As NASA announced last week that it will make a modest investment in scientific studies of unknown flying objects. a three-month period in 1971. The conference was organized by John Bellingham, an astrobiologist, and Bernard Oliver, head of research at Hewlett-Packard Corporation. The men also changed the conference report.
In the preface, Drs. Oliver wrote that if anything happened to Cyclops, this year would be considered the most important year of his life.
Paul Horowitz, professor emeritus of physics at Harvard University, said he went on to design and launch his listening campaign called Project META, funded by the Planetary Society. Film director Steven Spielberg (“ET” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”) attended the official opening in 1985 at the Harvard-Smithsonian Embassy in Harvard, Massachusetts.
“SETI is real!” Dr. Horowitz helped.
But what did Dr. Oliver initially received only a “Golden Fleece” award from Senator William Proxmire, a Democrat from Wisconsin, who campaigned against what he saw as a waste of public money.
“In my opinion, this project should be postponed for a few million years,” he said.
In the days of Columbus 1992, NASA actually began limited research. A year later, Congress repealed it at the request of Senator Richard Bryan, a Democrat from Nevada. After denying federal support since then, the SETI company, backed by nonprofit funding, the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, has declined. Recently, with a donation of $ 100 million, Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner created a new effort called Hacking Listen. Dr. Horowitz and others have expanded the research to include what they call “optical SETI,” which monitors the sky with laser beams from distant civilizations.
Dr. Horowitz said the Cyclops were never built, and so were they, “because by today’s standards they are huge and expensive animals.” Technological advances have changed the game, such as radio receivers that can listen to billions of radio waves simultaneously.
China’s new high-speed telescope, also called “Sky Eye”, was built with SETI in mind. Its antenna is located at the gate of Guizhou, in southwestern China. The antenna size is smaller than that of the popular Radio Arecibo Telescope in Puerto Rico, which collapsed in December 2020.
Now FAST and its monitors have passed a false alarm test. SETI astronomers say there will be more.
Those who endure pray that the great silence, as it is called, will not discourage them. They said they were always looking for a long time.
“The great silence is unexpected,” Horowitz said, especially since only a small fraction of the 200 million stars in the Milky Way have been studied. No one said it would be easy to identify this space station.
“It may not happen in my life, but it will happen,” Wertimer said.
“All the signs that SETI researchers have seen so far have been made by our own civilization, not other civilizations,” Wertheimer said in a series of emails and phone conversations. He said Earthlings may have to build telescopes on the moon to avoid increased radioactive pollution on Earth and interference with orbiting orbiting satellites.
He said the current time could be the only window to monitor the Earth’s SETI.
“Right years ago,” he says, “the sky was clear, but we didn’t know what to do.” “There will be no more heaven, a hundred years from now.”
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