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Optical SETI Survey - Conclusions (Part G)

Radobs 7G

Version 1.0
1.   There is a presumption, that whatever technology is "competitive" at
     the time of doing a comparative analysis between the microwave and the
     optical approaches, is obviously the way to go.  It could be that ATCs
     have a different idea, and don't expect us to detect their signals
     until optical technology has become terrestrially "competitive".  This
     comes back to the prevalent idea that the search must be done today
     with today's competitive technology, and not put off till tomorrow,
     using tomorrow's competitive technology.  However competitive microwave
     technology is to ETCs, it is useless if ATCs are using optical
     technology!  This will be a big disappointment to many in the SETI
     community, who have always thought that since microwave technology was
     mature and that region of the spectrum very "quiet", that this was
     obviously the "natural" technology to use.  I wouldn't make such a song
     and dance about the word "competitive", because optical technology is
     rapidly becoming competitive.  Would you be inclined to agree with the
     sentiments expressed here?
                                                                     DON'T KNOW

2.   The late Dr. E. E. Schumacher said that "Small is Beautiful".  Would
     you say that such a statement was appropriate in respect to comparing
     Optical and Microwave SETI technologies?  Think about comparing the
     "power" of a 10 meter diameter optical telescope system with that of a
     6.4 km diameter Cyclops-type microwave array!
                                                                     DON'T KNOW

3.   To summarize my rationale delineated in this survey: I have shown that
     optical communications is a compact and powerful form of targeted
     communications technology that can allow for much greater signal-to-
     noise ratios and bandwidths over distances of several thousand light
     years (at least), than is possible with reasonably-sized microwave
     technology.  To some extent, to believe in the efficacy of the approach
     does require an assumption that ETI technology may appear to us like
     "magic".  However, even stretching the imagination a little indicates
     that ATCs only a hundred years or so more advanced than us, a drop in
     the ocean on the cosmic time-scale, ought to have the ability to "hit"
     small planetary targets in nearby star systems with very narrow beams. 
     For us to believe in optical ETI signals, does not imply that we
     (mankind) must also have the same capability today to target the
     biospheres in nearby star systems.  After all, present-day SETI is
     about passive listening, otherwise it would be called CETI
     (Communications with Extraterrestrial Intelligence).

     While the rationale has primarily concentrated on space-based systems,
     it is clear that on-going developments in ground-based adaptive
     telescope technology holds great promise for both conventional optical
     astronomy and Optical SETI.  I have indicated that night-time light
     pollution effects which so plague the optical astronomer, should not
     affect adaptive ground-based Optical SETI.  Moreover, that ground-based
     Optical SETI is the only branch of optical astronomy, save for solar
     astronomy, that can be done during the day, under a clear blue sky.

     I believe that for about 30 years the SETI Community, save for a few
     lone voices in the wilderness (Townes, Shvartsman, Betz and Zuckerman)
     has suffered from a severe case of myopic vision in ignoring the
     visible and infrared spectrum.  Do you now agree?
                                                                     DON'T KNOW

Score out of 3: YES        =
                DON'T KNOW =
                NO         =

Total score out of 58 (Parts B through G): YES        =
                                           DON'T KNOW =
                                           NO         =

Feel free to go back and revise your responses in light of the entire
rationale stated in Parts A - G; perhaps some of the DON'T KNOWS can be
answered in a more affirmative fashion.  If at the end of this extensive
list of "leading questions", you have a large number of YES responses, then
the conclusion must surely be that the optical approach to SETI is not
without merit.  Not surprisingly, my rationale for Optical SETI has a YES
response to practically all the above statements.

If your YES score is 58/58 you are definitely an Optical SETI person, and
should join the club.  If your YES score is less than 29, you need to be
worked on!

Your Name ________________________________________

Address   ________________________________________



Profession or Major ______________________________

Phone     _____________________

Email     ________________________________________

If responding by post, send to:

Dr. Stuart A. Kingsley
Associate Member IEE, Senior Member IEEE

545 Northview Drive
Ohio 43209
Tel. (614) 258-7402
Compuserve: 72376,3545

You are encouraged to reproduce this survey and distribute it amongst
friends and interested parties.  If responding by post, feel free to add
comments in the space below each item, or on the back of the page.  Any
suggestions, critiques or ideas to add to the above rationale will be warmly
received.  As this survey (and other material) was composed and uploaded
onto the RADOBS bulletin board, part by part, it was also copied to Dr. Jill
Tarter at the SETI Institute in California.

January 1, 1991

BBOARD No. 300
Happy New Year

Questions 10 in Parts B and C are more or less identical.  I hope your
answers were the same!


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* Dr. Stuart A. Kingsley                       Copyright (c), 1991        *
* AMIEE, SMIEEE                                                           *
* Consultant                            "Where No Photon Has Gone Before" *
*                                                   __________            *
* FIBERDYNE OPTOELECTRONICS                        /          \           *
* 545 Northview Drive                          ---   hf >> kT   ---       *
* Columbus, Ohio 43209                             \__________/           *
* United States                            ..    ..    ..    ..    ..     *
* Tel. (614) 258-7402                     .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . *
* skingsle@magnus.ircc.ohio-state.edu         ..    ..    ..    ..    ..  *
* CompuServe: 72376,3545                                                  *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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