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Project Cyclops Optical SETI Assumptions



There are two very important assumptions in the 1971 Project Cyclops study that changes the relative merits of the optical and microwave approaches. Bernard Oliver says:

In attempting interstellar communication, or in attempting to detect radiation from another technological advanced civilization, we will in general be pointing our receiving system directly at the primary star of the planetary system because:


1. We will not have enough resolving power to separate the planet from the star at the distances involved. (One A.U. subtends 1 arcsecond at a distance of 1 parsec or 3.26 light years.)
2. Even if we had the resolution, we would not know the position of the planet relative to the star and would not like to add another dimension to the search.


Page 41, July 1973 revised edition (CR 114445) of the Project Cyclops design study of a system for detecting extraterrestrial life. This study was prepared under Stanford/NASA/Ames Research Center 1971 summer faculty fellowship program in engineering systems design.


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