Jun 05 2008
A group of astronomers has proposed a SETI search strategy:
Richard Conn Henry, a professor at Johns Hopkins’ Zanvyl Krieger
School of Arts and Sciences, is joining forces with Seth Shostak of
the SETI Institute and Steven Kilston of the Henry Foundation Inc., a
Silver Spring, Md., think tank, to search a swath of the sky known as
the ecliptic plane. They propose to use new Allen Telescope Array,
operated as a partnership between the SETI Institute in Mountain View,
Calif., and the Radio Astronomy Laboratory at the University of
This is an idea that I have been batting around for some time I posted a quick note on the idea in 2004, at and talked to some folks at the Hat Creek about that time when my wife and I were driving by and just stopped in as tourists.
I called the idea a “Paired Transit Protocol” – because the timing of the transits between the pairs of planets would establish a communications clock for synchronous communications (akin to computers using synchronous rather than asynchronous communications protocols. Synchronous computer communications are more efficient because they share a common clock that obviates the need for “start” and “stop” bits in the protocol.). Because each star/planet system can see the other’s transit, it creates a “leading edge” and “trailing edge” timing signal that precisely links to each other. One system transmitting an anomalous signal precisely when its planet enters or leaves the shadow of its star as cast on the other planet would confirm that that planet had seen the transit of the other planet.