Introductory Radio Astronomy and SETI (HET608)

Mind Where You're Leaking

In the 1997 film of Carl Sagan's novel, Contact, first contact is made with an alien civilisation. The signal received from space at a Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) receiving site contained a repeated portion of a 1939 television broadcast of Adolf Hitler. While Contact is fiction, the possibility that signals originating on Earth could be received by alien intelligences is real. This essay addresses the issue of signal leakage from our planet, whether it's a problem, and how we can use such leakage to our advantage.
Mind Where You’re Leaking Essay PDF

The Fermi Paradox

The multitude of stars in the heavens have long inspired the question, "Are we alone in the cosmos?" Sheer numbers alone indicate at least a chance that some of those star systems harbour life. Given the existence of multiple instances of life it follows from simple reasoning that, if any of those life-forms was able to travel from star to star, the entire Galaxy could be colonised in a matter of a few million years. However, despite the protestations of UFO enthusiasts, we see no concrete evidence of alien life visiting our planet or even the region. This absence of evidence leads to a conclusion that aliens do not exist, contrary to our expectation that they do. This paradox is called the Fermi Paradox and is the subject of this paper.
The Fermi Paradox Project PDF