By: David L. Souers

Chapter 6

Is There Anybody Out There ???

Decade after decade, man had searched the heavens with his huge mechanical ears. The Grand Banks, Aricebo, and the V.L.A. were but a few that scanned in vain for the extra-terrestrial signal that never came. We were so sure they were out there. Why couldn’t we hear them?

Drake’s equation stated that there should be thousands of civilizations, just in our quadrant of the galaxy. In all those years, several good hits had been recorded, but nothing that could be duplicated or not explained away to a more conventional happenstance. Just before the turn of the millennium, “SETI”, the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence project, had enlisted the help of hundreds of thousands of home computer users in an all out effort to provide more comprehensive analysis of the incoming data from the Aricebo dish in Puerto Rico. It was the largest number crunching project of all time, and true to SETI’s warning that it would be the equivalent of finding a “needle in a hay-stack”, when the location of the haystack wasn’t even known. The search was conducted over an extensive period, but nothing conclusive was ever found. Every computer on the list was given endless packets of data over the phone lines, and when their owners slept or took a break from their labors, those computers would process the data, and send the completed work back to Puerto Rico. So many frequencies, so many directions to look, the odds weren’t in our favor.

Well over a century of signals now spread outward in an ever-expanding bubble of energy from the earth. Radio, television, and every other type of transmission that man had ever devised went outward at the speed of light. Potential eavesdroppers that were situated farther out from the center of the galaxy, and therefore, farther from source of the wave than the earth had the best chance of hearing us. Unfortunately, those civilizations that were located closer to the center of the galaxy, would have lost their ability to hear us long before our signals had made the one-hundred light year trip. Maybe a not to distant civilization had heard us, and now their greetings were speeding on their way through space back to us. What a shame! Our ability to hear them would soon die, and would not be resurrected for a very long time. After so many long years of disappointment, the big ears would be very low on our list of things to return to service.

Perhaps it was for the best, as the wave and its unrelenting assaults on the civilizations of the galaxy made the chances of developing advanced technology slim, to say the least.