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Monday, June 25, 2018

The Search

Ramping Up The Search For Intelligent Life On Other Planets

A $100 million initiative co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg, Yuri Milner and the late Stephen Hawking to detect signs of intelligent life across the universe announces a major systems upgrade enabling earthlings to probe tens of billions of stars for technologically advanced extraterrestrial lifeforms.

From article, (Installed by scientists and engineers from the University of California, Berkeley SETI Research Center (BSRC), the new digital equipment is capable of handling 130 gigabits per second from the Parkes 13 “multibeam” receiver. For reference, this is many thousands of times faster than your fastest home internet connection. It represents more than 100 million radio channels scanned for each of the 13 beams. Along with an increase in speed, the multibeam receiver better distinguishes between radio-frequency interference (RFI) emitted from our own technology (satellites, airplanes, smartphones, etc.) and errant signals that may possibly indicate non-human technology emanating from other worlds. Breakthrough Listen’s data will also be analyzed for signatures of fast radio bursts (FRBs). FRBs are equal parts puzzling and powerful flashes of radio light documented by various experiments at Parkes, as well as by Listen’s instrument on the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.
“With these new capabilities,” says Danny Price, Parkes Project Scientist with the Breakthrough Listen project at UC Berkeley, “ we are scanning our galaxy in unprecedented detail. By trawling through these huge datasets for signatures of technological civilizations, we hope to uncover evidence that our planet, among the hundreds of billions in our galaxy, is not the only where intelligent life has arisen.”)

A Token Missile Defense?

Why is America still stuck with token missile defense?

The answer harks back to a 1972 treaty, and despite that agreement expiring years ago, defense experts and politicians failed to move with the times

From article, (the anti-defense mentality of late 1960s politicians and academics, embodied in the spirit and main provisions of the 1972 US-Soviet anti-ballistic defense missile treaty, remains embedded in the US bureaucracy, our military and defense industry.
the 1972 treaty expired in 2002
the heart of official US policy: we must do nothing, develop or research anything, that poses obstacles to missiles from Russia or China striking America.
The ABM Treaty’s prohibition of missile defense by weapons based on “other physical principles” was inserted not because of a technical consensus that boost-phase defense by lasers was infeasible. On the contrary. The technical paths to space laser weapons’ development were already clear.
By 1976, the US Navy had developed a near-infrared laser scaleable to several megawatts. It had intended it for the defense of ships against cruise missiles, but discovered that lasers don’t propagate well or even reliably within the atmosphere – a lesson that the US government would have to re-learn again and again.
Not a few noted, however, that it would be lethal if deployed in orbit. That same year, the KH-11 intelligence satellite went into service. Its pointing-tracking system, accurate to tenths of a nano-radian, and its huge mirror, were the space laser weapon’s main missing ingredients. By 1979, a low-level effort to combine them began. Fifteen years later, The New York Times reported that the prototype was “nearly ready to fly.” It was canceled precisely because it would have defended against Russian and Chinese missiles. That was, and remains US policy.)
Me, "So while the US took the high road, countries like Russian and China are developing these very same weapons we refuse not too. If the U.S. does not pull our heads out of the sand and start building these weapons, Russia and China will one day use them against us."