back to article US military pays SETI to check Kepler-22b for aliens

The Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has announced that it is back in business checking out the new habitable exoplanets recently discovered by NASA's Kepler space telescope to see if they might be home to alien civilisations. The cash needed to restart SETI's efforts has come in part from the US Air Force Space …


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  1. Bunker_Monkey

    SETI to look at Kepler-22b.. How long for a faint signal to be detected???

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Put differently

      How long can SETI milk the military for funding?

      Best of luck to them

      1. Arctic fox

        @Michael H.F. Wilkinson. All they will have to do is.............

        ...............fake some "evidence" that the aliens have WMDs and they will be able to milk the US defence budget for years to come. Should be good for a few trillion dollars in support. Err, now I come to think of it, didn't somebody do something like that a few years back?

        1. hplasm
          Thumb Up

          And get some proper starships built.

          With Atomic furnaces and stuff!

  2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    The results are in...

    No modulated radio emissions have been found. However, when you look at this far end of the power spectrum, there are tantalizing hints of very short but regular burst emissions that obey a similar probability distribution as does packet communication radio. More money may be needed to confirm or disconfirm this.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wonderful if they found a signal

    Even though we could only communicate a monologue at each other, it would still be the most important news ever - if not buried by the military.

    Of course, in 600 years time when they turn up on our doorstep it may be distinctly less wonderful.

    I'm off to watch Contact again. And then read the book as it's better.

    1. Mr Blobby247

      slight miscalculation in timescale there

      we first sent radio signals about 100 years ago yes? So there is still 500 years until those arrive at Kepler 22b, then a while until they (the highly aggresive, world-destroying aliens) decide to set out to take Earth, then 600+ years to arrive (assuming nothing can travel faster than light), so we have a good 1100+ years left to improve our technology

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        unless they already know we're here...

        1. Local Group
          Thumb Up

          Aliens are coming to town.

          Of course they know we're here.

          You better watch out

          You better not cry

          Better not pout

          I'm telling you why

          Aliens are coming to town

          They're making a list,

          And checking it twice;

          Gonna find out Who's naughty and nice.

          Aliens are coming to town

          They see you when you're sleeping

          They know when you're awake

          He knows if you've been bad or good

          So be good for goodness sake!

          O! You better watch out!

          You better not cry.

          Better not pout, I'm telling you why.

          Aliens are coming to town.

          Aliens are coming to town.

      2. Penguin herder

        slight miscalculation in timescale there

        Not so fast. The SETI effort is simple and more than worth a try, but wobble and transits seem to be more likely to turn up exploitable worlds, and could potentially reveal our type of life LONG before we became able to create conspicuous spikes in the EM spectrum.

        Anyone with technology far enough along to be a credible threat to us, probably knew about life on Earth a very long time ago.

    2. OrsonX

      Good to

      Still a great movie. Good Sci-Fi movies are few and far between.


      Blade Runner



      ....any more?

      1. DiggerDave

        Soylent Green


        Soylent Green

  4. Thomas 18

    Radio transmissions

    If a civilisation 600 light years away broadcasts radio transmissions then by the time it gets here they will have had 600 years to invent faster than light communication.

    1. Paul_Murphy

      And so do we...

      Though of course we're 100 years into our 600 already.


    2. Ammaross Danan

      Faster Than Light Communication

      Apparently, we already have. They likely did to...

      1. Super Fast Jellyfish

        Group velocity

        The group velocity of a series of waves can be greater than the phase velocity; this has been known for a while. The problem is that you can't encode any information in it.

  5. Iain Anderson

    US military pays SETI to check Kepler for 22lb aliens

    Am I the only one?

    1. TimeMaster T


      Your not.

      Sometimes I wonder if certain groups already know there is something out there, but not where its from.

      I'll bet that the Aztec's didn't know exactly where the Spanish where from, only that they existed.

    2. g e


      Baker Street ?


      1. Wombling_Free

        wasn't it?

        221b Aker Street?

        I'm sorry, I'll read that again...

  6. g e

    Yessir we found aliens!

    That sho' is great news boys, now, can you find out if they sho' do done got oil in their pinko commie subversive li'l green backyards?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Or just maybe...

      ...there it's in a near parallel universe, where Steve Jobs hasn't croaked yet...and he will be unveiling the new iPhone 5 in time for the holidays!

    2. Drew V.

      for that reason...

      I am definitely siding with the aliens when we "undertake to forcibly bring democracy to them". Don't even care what they look like...though it would be a bonus if they look like tall smurfs riding pterodactyls.

  7. TonyHoyle

    Damn that speed of light

    We weren't emitting any radio signal 600 years ago.. what if the aliens are about the same level of technology as us? We wouldn't hear anything for maybe 450 years. My which time we might have worked out some kind of wormhole tech to get us there first..

    Also, 'kepler' is a cool name. Can we swap? 'Earth' is so dull.

    1. OrsonX


      Kepler-ings not so good.

      Kepler-ians better!

    2. Lewis Mettler


      Aliens from Kepler land and insist on only talking to that Mr. Earth guy.

      1. laird cummings

        Which means my crazy cousin is about to become really popular...

    3. Local Group

      Julius Caesar act 3 scene 1

      You think?

      "Oh pardon me thou bleeding piece of kepler that I am meek and gentle with these butchers."

      Hey, that's a Tony, too.

  8. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    So I am not the only one thinking about incoming near-relativistic projectiles in a few centuries from now.

    Some aliens do not like being disturbed ya know....

  9. Ray 8

    welcome mat

    Seeing that we have been transmitting radio signals for about 100 years, we have another 500 to prepare the <weclcome to Earth / We Surrender> mat

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is the president of future Earth French?

  10. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    I'm all in favour of Kepplerian aliens...

    My house needs the same area sweeping every day. Perhaps I could hire one.

  11. bubbleboy

    A new earth-like planet? It won't take the Pentagon long to ramp up the hardware so they can take on the bloodthirsty creatures inhabiting our new neighbor. Of course, we'll approach them with the idea of bringing them democracy and if they aren't interested, we'll have to make sure they understand the downside of refusing to be liberated from their primitive ways.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    "Alien attack imminent Captian!"


    About ... er, 600 years.

    Ready the troops!

  13. Local Group

    Help me, please.

    Is our military is looking for aliens on Kepler-22b to invite them down here for a sleep-over?

    Or do they want to know what trouble to expect when we plant our flag near the Plutonian Shore.

    If the latter, will there be a back-up plan in the event that blood-thirsty aliens will have taken over Kepler-22 in a couple of hundred years, while were en route, but after SETI gave us the go-ahead?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    In other news....

    The U.S. military has hired Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as "consultants"--do you think they know something we don't?

    Keep your eyes on the skies!!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I just hope...

    ...the women have three breasts!!!

    1. Local Group

      Unintended Consequence

      I'll grant you that in time we'd get used to seeing a woman walking on the street possessed of three breasts. The better couturiers would quickly show that third boob to it's best advantage.

      But one or two is the rule of thumb for protuberances on homo sapiens and both male and female resemble each other in the number of their appendages.

      Are you prepared to have a third breast so that pretty girls can have them? Or are you true to your name?

      Because women's breasts are nippled, so are men's. Boffinry tells us men and women would have an equal number of breasts. Res ipsa loquitor.

      " Just as the spandrels of St. Mark's domed cathedral in Venice are simply an architectural consequence of the meeting of a vaulted ceiling with its supporting pillars, the presence of nipples in male mammals is a genetic architectural by-product of nipples in females. So, why do men have nipples? Because females do." (Scientific American)

      I can't honestly say I need more baggage now.

      This is a Failed Fantasy.

      1. Local Group

        AC have I misapprehended you?

        The 3 breasts you were referring to were perched upon female Kardashians and not on honeys from Kepler 22.

        I apologize if I got that wrong.

  16. David Fetrow

    ...something useful for once....

    Like GPS and the Internet?

  17. Flashy Red
    Thumb Up

    Awww... I hope they find something soon.

    Then we can all stop believing in fairy tales and do some real thinking as a species.

  18. Kingprawn

    Lets face it

    In 600 years we'll have destroyed mankind thus saving what we leave of this planet for the new arrivals.

    Kepler-ings/Kepler-ians make yourself's at home. Sorry about the mess.

    1. Armando 123

      You mean, like the way we annihilated ourselves via nuclear war near the year 2000, as predicted by Paul Ehrlich?

  19. Caustic Soda

    Do you copy, Rubber Duck?

    It's only really since the 30s that we've been producing radio transmissions at VHF and above. Transmissions at lower frequencies would have been heavily attenuated or refracted back to Earth in the ionosphere except for whatever energy at the upper end of the HF spectrum went (more or less) straight up in the air. The "clock" for "first reception of Earthly transmissions" didn't start ticking in 1901 with Marconi, you're looking (as with Contact) at TV and radar in the 30s as a starting point. When the "radio timeline" gets to the 70s/80s, God knows what our new alien overlords will make of goings on around 27MHz.

  20. AlexS


    What are the odds that if the alien gets contact from us, it will go straight into his/hers/its spam folder?

  21. Wombling_Free


    I read Charles Stross' short story 'MAXOS' yesterday.

    Now I'm all spooked out.

    Whatever you download, DON'T RUN IT!

  22. pauly

    You never know, they may have been broadcasting for the last 600-odd years anyway i.e. we might not have to wait

  23. tmTM

    Goverment Funded?

    So if SETI do discover life, will it be enthusiastically reported, or will the US government get first choice on information release??

    The Conspiracy theorists will have a field day.

  24. Thomas 18

    Urgent need for missiles

    We need to start researching a light speed missile that can survive the 600 year journey today. We can't wait till we see a threat developing on the planet, they will be 1200 years more advanced by the time it gets there! We need to launch it yesterday!

    Or we could just make a planet busting neutrino laser.

  25. b0llchit Silver badge

    Long time to travel, no time to develop, much time to vanish

    For the 600 light year distance, it would seem rather quirky if we'd detect anything at all.

    Considering that 600 years ago, the human race was meddling with burning witches and radio signals were not something considered (let alone being technologically possible). Our own signals may be detected in a radius of (optimistically) 70 light years. By the time k22b will know we exists, we may have died out of (un-)natural causes...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And what do they do if they happen to find LGM's "waving" back at them?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Speed of Light not the speed limit

    and who says space is a complete vacuum? FTL drive may use the Casimir effect to move through space......

    Wierd shit happens as you approach that...

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