Beatles crawling about NASA

Why the hell is NASA wasting public money on giving publicity to this group of attention seekers, yes I'm looking at you Paul McCartney.

In case you haven't heard NASA will be broadcasting the Beatles song Across the Universe towards Polaris on the 4th.

Amazing! Well done, NASA! Send my love to the aliens. All the best, Paul.

Yoko Ono of course had her bit to say as well.

I see that this is the beginning of the new age in which we will communicate with billions of planets across the universe.

As nutty as ever, has anybody told her that Polaris is 400 odd light years away? Wait, she probably doesn't even know what that means. Enjoy waiting 800 odd years for a response, if any, Yoko.

Why NASA are doing this is totally beyond me. There is zero scientific justification to this, all it seems to be doing is wasting US tax payers money on promoting the Beatles. NASA's budget is tight enough, with dozens of scientific programs being cut without wasting money on this nonsense.

If you want to send messages out into the cosmos (we've only done this once or twice before, it is expensive), at least do it properly. Use some mathematical sequence which can only be interpreted as artificial, and send it to high probability targets that are closer to the Earth - and then keep transmitting.

The private exploitation of space needs to stop, yes that means you too Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic - even the name is false advertising! I think its time for a campaign - Keep Space Public.

4 comments

Comment from: stavros [Visitor]  
stavros
3 stars

Well said. But if it was only this it would be fine! With tax money going to all sorts of quackery nowadays, this looks relatively "cheap"!

But in all seriousness, I do not see the purpose either. And Yoko just shows her utter ignorance...

3rd February 2008 @ 19:54
a very public sociologist

Why bother beaming something out specifically? We've been leaking radio waves into space for decades. I love the notion floated in the film of Carl Sagan's novel, Contact, that our radio ambassador to the stars is none other than ... Adolf Hitler. lol.

6th February 2008 @ 14:23
Comment from: Matt [Visitor]
Matt

This is nothing but a PR gimmick. As mentioned above, the beatles have already been beamed out in to space since the sixties! Of which those signals have only reached a handful of the closest stars even now. Only stars within 48 light years of us will have started receiving the signals anyway.

It will take over 2 million years for our very first radio signals to reach the closest galaxy to our own.

Matt

7th February 2008 @ 10:44
Comment from: [Member]
Paul

There's a practical difference to what is transmitted at a specific target out in the cosmos, and what is intended for a very local target, which only the left-overs escape into space.

The Arecibo array for example, can communicate with an identical dish between 10000 and 23000 light years away.

If you take the largest radio telescope under construction at the moment the Low Frequency Array (which has an effective surface area of 1 square kilometre), it couldn't detect our TV transmissions even a light year away.

According to SETI at 55 light years our radio and TV broadcasts are so weak they're just 0.3 million million million million millionths of a watt per square metre.

They'd have to be about a million times more powerful for us to be able to even detect them at that distance - and even then the signal would still be too weak to actually get a picture out of them, they'd have to be another two or three times more powerful again.

Work it the other way, and the aliens will need a dish between one million and three million square kilometres in size to watch our TV 55 light years away.

7th February 2008 @ 15:26


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