Anyone who has a mild interest not invested in UFOs is absolutely desperate for someone who seems legitimate to weigh on the subject. Ideally, we want one of the brain geniuses NASA in our corner. We want someone in a white lab coat with the NASA logo embroidered on the chest pocket to pull us (still warmly) by the hands and say, "Hey, man, you might be right about aliens." This man is here, and his name is Dr Silvano Colombano from NASA Ames Research Center.
Colombano came into our lives this week because of a white paper he published earlier this year being published by Reddit. This paper, entitled New assumptions to guide SETI research, suggests that scientists should reevaluate their assumptions about the likelihood of contact with aliens, based on our new understanding of technology and the universe.
Colombano argues that the recent discovery of planetary systems as old as 10.4 billion and 11.2 billion years (when ours is only meager 4.5 billion years) should rethink how we can confidently judge the upper bound of which is possible with technology, especially when the scientific method has only been a big thing here for 500 years.
From here, Colombano says it may be time to question some basic assumptions about intelligent alien life – these assumptions being:
- Interstellar travel is impossible or highly unlikely
- Radio waves remain the main form of communication for thousands or millions of years.
- Intelligent civilizations would be based on the life of carbon
- We were not and we are not being visited
Colombano defies the first assumption by saying that we simply do not know enough to discard it:
Clearly distance and energy are insurmountable problems for the technologies we have available and our understanding of physics. Still we are able to understand the possibilities of achieving a much greater understanding and control of matter-energy and space-time. Even though the speed of light remains an unbreakable barrier, over thousands of years, civilizations could probably make interstellar journeys, depending on what assumptions we make about the forms of life they will understand.
He accepts the second suggesting that what he uses may be beyond our knowledge, and also that even if they used the radio, it would be impossible to decode what they are sending.
In terms of life being carbon-based, Colombano says that by looking at where we are going with computers, carbon-based life could be just the begin in terms of the evolution of a way of life:
After a mere 50 years of computer evolution, we are already talking about "super-intelligence," and we are quickly becoming symbiotic with the power of the computer. . . . I simply want to emphasize the fact that the intelligence we can find and that it can choose us to find (if it does not already have it) may not be produced in any way by carbon-based organisms like us. How can this change the above assumptions about interstellar travel? Our typical extensions of life would no longer be a limitation (although even these could be treated with multi-generational missions or suspended animations), and the size of the "explorer" could be that of an extremely small superintelligent entity.
I think we can all agree, that sucks.
Finally, Colombano says that although the sheer amount of absurdity involved in reporting UFOs and the apparent improbability of extraterrestrial visitors has kept scientists away from UFO investigations, it should not:
It seems to me that SETI ignored (at least officially) the potential relevance of UFO phenomena for three reasons: 1) The assumption of extremely low likelihood of interstellar travel, (2) the very high probability of fraud, misperceptions or even psychotic events in ufological phenomena, and (3) general avoidance of the subject by the scientific community. I think the approach that the scientific community could have, by contrast, is very similar to what SETI has done so far: finding the signal in the noise.
In the large amount of "noise" in the UFO report, there may be "signs", albeit small, that indicate some phenomena that can not be explained or denied. If we adopt a new set of assumptions about what forms of higher intelligence and technology we could find, some of these phenomena could fit into specific hypotheses, and we could begin a serious investigation.
Hell yes, man. That's right!!!
The great recommendations of Colombano are that the search for extraterrestrial life moves in a direction that considers "Speculative Physics", Where physicists begin from our current understanding of physics, but"with some willingness to broaden the possibilities as to the nature of space-time and energy"Played in the mix, and this leads to the study of UFOs on Earth as a serious research path, only one with"very low
the signal to noise ratio".
You can read the entire article here, it is relatively brief and easy to understand, even if you are not a turbonerdo.