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The Planetary Society - 3


The Planetary Report, Volume V11, Number 1, January/February 1992, pp. 16-19

Extract from Mapping Out a Strategy - A Report From the 1991 SETI Conference* by Thomas R. McDonough.


This is believed to be the first reference to Optical SETI that ever appeared in The Planetary Report.


Soviet SETI, page 17
Gregori Beskin of the Special Astrophysical Observatory of the USSR talked about looking for pulses of visible light from other civilizations.  He is continuing the work of the late astronomer V.F. Schvartsman in a project called MANIA.  His team is searching for pulses a civilization might transmit by laser, anything from 1 pulse every 1,000 seconds to 10 million per second.  Using their giant 6-meter (20-foot) optical telescope, they have found 20 objects so far, but these seem to be natural, though uncommon, astronomical objects.

Some Conference Highlights, page 19
Albert Betz of the University of California at Berkeley talked about searching for artificial infrared laser signals, perhaps similar to the huge Antares laser that was built at the Los Alamos laboratory.  For an instant, one such laser can produce a million million watts.  Using a 10-meter (30-foot) mirror, a 1-million-watt laser could reach across 160 light-years to an identical system.  Betz has begun a search for laser signals from stars near our Sun.

He also mentioned that under certain conditions a carbon-dioxide atmosphere may amplify infrared signals just as a laser could.  He referred to a speculation that another civilization might use a planet with a carbon dioxide atmosphere like Venus as a giant laser to amplify signals.


* Third Decennial US-USSR Conference on SETI, Santa Cruz, California, August 5-9, 1991.   Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series, Edited by G. Seth Shostak, Volume 47, 1993.


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