The first workshop of the new German SETI initiative recently convened in the southern town of Freiburg, with experts in fields ranging from social science to satellite imaging on hand to discuss how to advance the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life. Michael Schetsche from the University of Freiburg started things off with a talk on the possible consequences of first contact with an extraterrestrial species, and how we might prepare for such an encounter. A symposium held at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. three years ago had a similar theme, but Schetsche’s talk focused more on contact with artificial intelligence or machine-based life. Other talks had to do with SETA, the search for extraterrestrial artifacts, which will be one subject of future research by the German research network. Hakan Kayal from the University of Würzburg outlined today’s technical state of the art in detecting and identifying objects in space, whether natural phenomena such as meteorites and sprites, or presumed extraterrestrial probes. It was sobering that even in Earth’s vicinity we could only detect very large (kilometer-size!) probes, or those that had a huge energy output. Read More: Air & Space Magazine
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