Science & Technology

Far out, man! SETI astronomer will explain the search for aliens to potential potheads

You don’t have to be stoned to admire SETI scientist Seth Shostak’s perspective on the search for extraterrestrials – however it wouldn’t harm.

That’s what the Goodship Higher Education Series is relying on when the SETI Institute’s senior astronomer delivers the collection’ first lecture of the yr in a marijuana-friendly setting at Seattle’s Melrose Market Studios.

Pot consumption isn’t allowed at the venue, but when attendees need to present up below the affect on Thursday evening, that’s wonderful with the organizers. That’s additionally wonderful with Shostak, though he admits that talking to an unabashedly stoned viewers can be one thing fully totally different for him.

“I’ve by no means had the expertise earlier than … that I’m conscious of,” the 73-year-old researcher instructed GeekWire.

Musing about life elsewhere in the universe is simply the type of cosmic topic that comes up when of us chill round the campfire or the lounge, with or with out intoxicating substances. The Goodship collection is designed to create that cosmic feeling by “partnering altered states with massive concepts.”

There are few concepts greater than SETI – an acronym that’s brief for the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. For greater than a half-century, radio astronomers like Shostak have been combing via information, wanting for the telltale signature of intentional broadcasts past Earth.

Nothing conclusive has been discovered but, however Shostak is betting a cup of espresso that contact will be made inside two dozen years. (He acknowledges, nevertheless, that he’s been saying that for more than a decade.)

“Maintain onto your Starbucks inventory,” he joked.

To conduct the search, the SETI Institute makes use of the Allen Telescope Array, a posh of 42 linked radio dishes in Northern California that obtained its preliminary funding from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

The institute’s newest listening marketing campaign focuses on 20,000 red-dwarf star systems. A type of dwarfs is Proxima Centauri, which is barely 4.2 light-years away and harbors a probably liveable planet.

“We’re wanting for aliens round these runty stars,” Shostak stated, partly as a result of purple dwarfs make up the most populous class of stars in our Milky Manner galaxy. Meaning they could be the likeliest sources for alien alerts.

Or not.

For years, Shostak has been suggesting that the first clever aliens we encounter in all probability received’t be life types in any respect, however “post-biological” entities. “They’re certain to be machines, and that’s form of a distressing technique for SETI,” he stated.

As soon as synthetic intelligence kicks in, there’s not any cause to congregate on liveable planets. Actually, the environments that we think about liveable could also be undesirable neighborhoods for AI aliens.

“They don’t have to stick round in a spot like Seattle, as a result of they’ll rust out,” Shostak stated.

Inside the subsequent century, we might not even have to search distant stars to encounter clever aliens. Shostak predicts that the evolution of machines with synthetic intelligence might nicely rank as the twenty first century’s greatest technological improvement.

And also you don’t want to be stoned to have that concept blow your thoughts.

Shostak’s speak, titled “The place Are the Extraterrestrials,” is bought out. The doorways open at 7 p.m. Thursday at Melrose Market Studios, 1532 Minor Ave. in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district, and the lecture begins at 8. Attendees should be 21 or older, so carry your ID. As for the marijuana angle, right here’s the recommendation from the organizers: “Come ‘pre-boarded’ – so toke up beforehand, not when you’re there.”

The Goodship Larger Schooling Sequence is offered by The Goodship in partnership with The Stranger and the Cloud Room.

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