Science: Extraterrestrial Life
Planet etcher   (+2, -1)  [vote for, against]
A (relatively) harmless beam 'tattoos' other planets

Many attempts have been made to listen for extra-terrestrial signals and some attempts have even been made to send signals for other life forms to 'hear'.

Due to our rather primitive ape-descended brains, such attempts have, of course, been completely worthless.

The trick is to realise that sending some kind of coded signal in a specifically chosen band of the electro-magnetic spectrum assumes that there are aliens (a) with ample time to be sitting around, listening at the right moment (b) listening on the right frequency and (c) equipped with the right tools and norms to decode the message and make sense of it.

A much better idea would be to target prospective 'life-supporting' planets with a high-energy beam in the low-frequency spectrum to 'tattoo' a nice, crisp geometric shape on the remote planet.

The receiver needs no special equipment to receive ...and the resulting message is unmistakable: a large, geometric pattern or star map etched in large, friendly form on an alien ice-patch, mold lawn or grain field.

Of course, we've been having our little planet remotely tattooed with such useful messages since at least the 16th Century. (Can you think where? Think, ape-man, THINK!)
-- not_only_but_also, Jun 30 2005

Our pathetic attempts
[not_only_but_also, Jun 30 2005]

EM-beam effects on crops, snow, ice
This is how we should be doing it! [not_only_but_also, Jun 30 2005]

Intergalactic Morse Code Intergalactic_20Morse_20Code
[theircompetitor, Jun 30 2005]

Planet Escher http://www.geocitie...3828/planetoid.html
[daseva, Jun 30 2005]

Oook, oook, oook? Me no think where. Me no think useful.
-- baconbrain, Jun 30 2005

I don't think scientists have yet identified a prospective life supporting planet, or at least a prospective intelligent life supporting planet.

If scientists did discover such a planet, I don't think it would be close enough to etch a crisp pattern onto.
-- xaviergisz, Jun 30 2005

Depends on your definition of life-supporting. Nasa have recently found that Mars used to have (simple) life on it and at last count there were 300-400 'good prospect' solar systems and specific planets within a reasonable range.

Use a nice, low-frequency part of the E-M spectrum and bending/bluring should be reduced. (Think how much cripser a maser is than a laser, then keep working down the range...)
-- not_only_but_also, Jun 30 2005

Can't we just do it the way the aliens get theirs done here on Earth? Slap a mind-control ray on a few of the natives and program them to think it is a great joke to work over a wheatfield with boards and string in the middle of the night.

The true origin of our messages may never be understood, of course, but then we could comfort ourselves with the thought that the aliens have found a cure for mental illness.
-- baconbrain, Jun 30 2005

The solution is simple: an astronaut sat on top of a space station near the Sun, armed with a thick pair of shades, lots of sun cream and a BIG magnifying glass. And a map of the heavens, so he knows where to direct his (or her) focused sun beam.

Hah, better make sure he doesn't use the magnifying glass to look at his map, mind.

The same astronaut could be used to deal with giant ants on the surface of the Earth.
-- Saveloy, Jun 30 2005

Yes, that was a fitting annotation, [Saveloy].
-- zeno, Jun 30 2005

//Nasa have recently found that Mars used to have (simple) life on it // It may well have had life, but as far as I know, neither NASA nor anyone else has found evidence for it. Would you be referring to the infamous "nanobacteria" in ALH84001?
-- Basepair, Jun 30 2005

Ahh, ALH84001, did you have to look that up [basepair]? I would have, but I'm on the cusp of taking this ominous name to heart.

Where have art thou been, dear ALH84001,
Where has thee been?

<Imagining a little group of bacteria freaking out after they realize a star has been etched into their planet>

"Egad, Vermilllion, we've just been etched!"
"Etched you say?"
"It's the humans, Verm, remember our little humans? They're... evolving..."
"It makes them want to... ETCH OUR HOME!!!"
-- daseva, Jun 30 2005

disappointed - I thought it was planet escher.
-- po, Jun 30 2005

Here ya' go [po]. (linky) ...

Go pogo, po!
-- daseva, Jun 30 2005

bless you - that's lovely
-- po, Jun 30 2005

//Ahh, ALH84001, did you have to look that up [basepair]?// I have to confess that I had to check the digits. Would have been nice if it were true, though :-)
-- Basepair, Jun 30 2005

No, not ALH84001. ("It might be a worm-like bacteria because it is 'worm-like' in shape." Sheesh, where'd that brilliant thinking come from!)

Much more recent than that. The latest Mars rovers (a matter of months ago) photographed rock ripples, salt and other deposits that point to life more than anything else we've seen.
-- not_only_but_also, Jul 12 2005

Murdoch, [link: get real].

The circlemakers have been doing crop cirles since the 16th Century? ...and on all continents, including on snow drifts in Antarctica?

And they were doing it in 2001 when foot-and-mouth disease made tromping around in fields in the UK a risky, illegal and monitored task? With heavy penalties applying?

Do some research of your own (beyond some bored college students saying 'yeah, I made one crop circle in 15 days') and see what you find.
-- not_only_but_also, Jul 12 2005

Wouldn't it be very difficult to target a planet at great distance because of gravitational effects on the beam?

Also I don't think aliens would be very pleased to wake up to either their food being scorched or their ice sheets being broken into pieces.
-- pooduck, Jul 12 2005

//The latest Mars rovers (a matter of months ago) photographed rock ripples, salt and other deposits that point to life more than anything else we've seen.// Ah, OK. But these are presumably being taken as indications of water (with implications for the possibility of past life) rather than as signs of life itself?
-- Basepair, Jul 12 2005

shouldn't this be under the terraforming category ?
-- neilp, Jul 12 2005

my question is how relayivelu harmless a beam that etches stuff is really.
-- Madcat, Jul 14 2005

random, halfbakery