Frank Drake: It Would Be 'Silly' to Try to Contact Aliens Now

Tuesday, 17 February 2015 - 1:54PM
Alien Life
Tuesday, 17 February 2015 - 1:54PM
Frank Drake: It Would Be 'Silly' to Try to Contact Aliens Now

Frank Drake, the creator of the Drake Equation, is the last person you'd expect to come out against the search for extraterrestrial life. And indeed, he still believes that the search for intelligent aliens is a worthwhile pursuit, but with SETI beginning to change tack and attempt to send messages to alien civilizations, Drake has come out of the woodwork to call this particular method a waste of time and resources, essentially because it's too expensive. 

 

According to Kiki Sanford of Boing Boing, Drake "said in conversation that despite the many potential benefits of making contact with an advanced life-form, 'it would be silly to send messages now.' For starters, we won't be able to benefit from such a project for at least 50-100 years. So, it would be a waste of resources at this point in time. Our time, money, and energy would be better spent searching as 'sending messages is not efficient.'"

 

"According to Drake, we should focus our resources on exploring and utilizing our own solar system as 'intelligent species wouldn't be traveling between the stars.' Why is that? Moving between stars is cost prohibitive. He went on to say that a 100 year space flight to a nearby star at one-tenth the speed of light (the fastest tolerable to the human body) would require the equivalent of the full power output of the United States for 200 years… and, that doesn't include the power needed to stop or land. Only the most advanced civilizations will have moved beyond their own solar systems. It's just cheaper to stay home, and listen."

 

So there you have it. According to one of the foremost minds in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, sending a message to aliens is "silly" because best-case scenario, they wouldn't be able to answer for decades. And then even if they did answer, chances are we wouldn't be able to see them face-to-face, as a result of the sheer power it takes to achieve interstellar travel. 

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