In Alien Civilisations, Do Accountants Have the Upper Hand?

#Science

Wed, Jul 21st, 2010 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

"If ET was building cost-effective beacons, would our searches have detected them? The answer turns out to be no," says James Benford, president of the company Microwave Sciences in Lafayette, California.

Aliens wishing to communicate would probably broadcast nearer the 10 gigahertz band, as this makes it easier and cheaper to create a powerful beam and where there is less astronomical background noise than in other wavebands. But this fails to consider the cost to aliens. Frugal aliens would swing short, pulsed microwave beam using a dish antenna 0.9 kilometres wide to sweep a beam across the Milky Way's disc once a year, broadcasting a single 35-second blast of microsecond pulses to all the stars within 1080 light years.

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