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Paper: Five Strategies for Detecting Intelligence
Volume: 213, Bioastronomy '99: A New Era in Bioastronomy
Page: 445
Authors: Tough, Allen
Abstract: If highly intelligent life has evolved elsewhere in our galaxy, how might scientists detect it? This paper compares eleven search strategies on three dimensions. Which strategies are most likely to detect extraterrestrial intelligence or technology? Which strategies, if successful, will likely contribute a wealth of knowledge? What is the current status of actual projects? In order to detect evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence or technology many light-years from Earth, astronomers can search for (1) radio signals, using various approaches, (2) laser or other optical signals, (3) other incoming signals, or (4) signs of an astroengineering project or Dyson sphere. Scientists could also (5) broadcast a radio message asking distant civilizations to respond. Additional strategies arise because any civilizations in our galaxy are probably much older than us and will therefore have technology far beyond ours. A technologically sophisticated civilization could likely send a small but super-smart probe to explore our solar system. An alien probe in our solar system, beyond the Moon, might be detected (6) by ongoing astronomy and space exploration, or (7) by a dedicated search for evidence of a probe or its byproducts. If a super-smart probe has reached Earth, it might be detected (8) by routine military and intelligence monitoring, (9) by an invitation to ETI on the World Wide Web, (10) by achieving peace or some other threshold that the probe requires before contact, or (11) by developing rigorous new research designs to study anomalous phenomena.
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