HISTORICALLY, the alleged reception of signals of an extraterrestrial origin dates back to the very beginnings of radio. In fact, we find that the recent history of the investigation into interstellar communications is almost completely restricted to the science of radio astronomy - a technology which is quite limited due to the necessity of obeying the confines of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Early in his career, Dr. L. George Lawrence recognized this limitation, and sought to overcome it by introducing a means of communication which was not bound by conventional electromagnetic laws. "Biological" or "Biodynamic" communication, as Lawrence called it, found its medium completely outside of the electromagnetic spectrum, and therefore solved many of the problems facing the prevailing radio-astronomical methodology of interstellar communication.
To comprehend the complexity of these problems, we
must briefly detail the historical background of conventional interstellar communications (hereinafter referred to as
Both Nikola Tesla and Guglielmo Marconi would be remembered for their early pronouncements of receiving "alien" signals (see "Communicating with Mars"), but it wasn’t until 1930 that the birth of radio astronomy and the consequent reception of radio signals of galactic origin heralded the beginnings of ICOMM. Karl Jansky, an American radio engineer, was the first to pinpoint signals originating from the center of the galaxy in the 30s.
World War II and the development of RADAR, the military began
frequently intercepting radio signals originating from outer space.
With this development, the first large radio telescopes would be
employed for purely scientific purposes.
After observing for a total time of about 4 weeks in the region of the 21-centemeter hydrogen band, no signals were found. Thus, ended Project Ozma - and to this day - no signals have been found by any standard radio-astronomical methods. Many so-called SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) projects, and several millions of dollars in funding later, have turned up nothing.
Even NASA showed interest for awhile, spending $60-70
million since 1971, but in the early 1990s, they dumped SETI and
other projects from their budget.
A follow-up telescope located 120 miles away allowed them to distinguish between terrestrial and galactic signals by utilizing Doppler shift. But, still no ET. Promising signals have all turned out to be things such as satellites, military radar, and even TV stations.
They haven’t given up though, and plan to focus on 900
northern hemisphere stars next.
The major difficulty with radio-astronomical ICOMM is that at its foundation can lie some very uncreative quantitative assumptions. The basis for the entirety of this research assumes that an extraterrestrial civilization's technology is comparable to, and has evolved to a state equal to our own.
Without thought, academia casually presupposes that there are many,
Quite an egotistical assumption for a culture that admits no
solution to the mysteries of their own ancient civilizations!
may be the standards by which they seek to communicate, and may
offer greater success considering the great distances with which ICOMM necessitates.
The most difficult obstacle to overcome concerning ICOMM lies with the exchange of information. Since conventional presumption is so anthropomorphically restrained, the academics insist on using our own cultural and societal development as a guide to choosing the proper cosmic linguistic form.
Simple messages, binary call signals, pictograms, and even an artificial schematic language called Lincos have been suggested and even transmitted to the stars. But, even simple language can pose incredible difficulty for scholars wishing to make an interpretation. Earlier advanced cultures on our own planet have left us with innumerable writings which still evade academia’s decryption.
Even the late skeptic and mechanist Carl Sagan foresaw this conundrum:
Dr. L. George Lawrence was clearly aware of these facts before he began his pioneering efforts in biodynamic ICOMM. Dr. Lawrence proposed that certain advanced civilizations would have developed a means of communication utilizing purely biological principles.
This biological exchange of information has been previously outlined, which also detail Dr. Lawrence’s experiments in biodynamic transfer of information. Dr. Lawrence stated that these galactic cultures may have communicated by a method now lost to our civilization - biological communication - where the biodynamic energy transfer acts as the carrier, and the patternate content is the modulation. This patternate content is an actual eidoform, or complete eidetic picture. As an alternative to conventional radio reception, biodynamic information appears to be transmitted in a longitudinal point-to-point fashion.
One wouldn’t have to wait light years for
the reception of a message - it could be nearly instantaneous.
Dr. Lawrence was not without his own assumptions concerning the possible methods of galactic transmission. Of course, we have to begin somewhere, and Dr. Lawrence, being a radio engineer, followed the simple progression entailed in sending and receiving conventional radio communications. This follows the Russian theorist Y.I. Kuznetzov’s outline of the communication process via the concepts of communication, coding, signal, and modulation.
Lawrence’s version would be detailed thusly: The communication
(Eidetic picture) would be converted into a form suitable for
transmission (biodynamic signal), the coding being the method of
conversion, and the modulation (patternate content) would be the
change in the parameters of the emission serving as the carrier of
the (biodynamic) signal. For reception, one would simply reverse
t the very heart of Dr. Lawrence’s
system was a unique form of biodynamic transducer which enabled him
to receive and transmit signals of a biological origin.
Early in Dr. Lawrence’s career, he began work on a series of transducers of biodynamic energy. In order to utilize quantitative measuring instruments, biodynamic energy would need to be converted or transduced into electrical energy. Initial experiments commenced with simple Wheatstone bridge circuits and plant material as the biosensor.
Although the plant material reacted to biodynamic stimuli such as touch, and even directed thought, this was found to be unwieldy as the plant material was possessive of its own consciousness. It could easily become fatigued and stressed, or would simply seem unconcerned when experimental matters were conducted. Dr. Lawrence then began a systematic search of the organic semiconductor library for an answer. He found that a simple mixture of protein complexes, a sort of primeval soup as it were, produced remarkable results.
But, the problem of tuning to specific biodynamic energies still existed. One needed to capture individual responses to particular stimuli in order to rule out any possibility of unwanted artifact. This necessitated the addition of special substances to the soup, to be used as what Lawrence termed the "excitation" mixture. These ranged from organo-methylglyoxol compounds to a variety of mineral compositions - each with their individual response characteristics.
Now, the qualitative reactions
of this biological "soup" could be directly transduced into a
quantitative electrical signal via the use of high impedance
amplifiers, and when mixed with a local oscillator, produced the
desired output signal for analysis.
Project LUCAS, named after Dr. L. George Lawrence, was designed with the intention of re-creating these biodynamic interstellar communications experiments.
Myself and researcher Michael Elsey
journeyed to the High Desert area of the Joshua Tree National
Monument for the re-creation. Many months of preparation preceded
the actual experiments - the fabrication of biosensors and
electronic equipment, laboratory testing, and experiment rehearsal.
The project has been largely unfunded, and the total cost of the
experimental setup was under $1000.
An older unit was inserted in its place and performed to our expectations with no interference problems. Our initial targets would be two galaxies in the Ursa Major constellation: M81 and M82.
These were chosen because of all the searches conducted, Dr. Lawrence had the greatest success there. Our horizon-to-horizon scanning continued slowly to ensure proper functioning of the equipment, and eventually would focus in on the target area. Our first pass at M81 revealed nothing. I was concerned that the older equipment wasn’t sensitive enough and I began turning knobs. Nothing happened. As we settled into the campsite, we decided to leave the telescope and biosensor focused in on the target area for awhile.
I remembered Dr. Lawrence’s notes regarding how several weeks would go by without the detection of any signal, but I was still becoming somewhat discouraged and impatient by the lack of reception of signals, and continued to believe the equipment may be to blame. Suddenly, bursts of modulation poured out of the speakers. I immediately checked the equipment to make sure there wasn’t a malfunction. Everything was in order. The bursts lasted only about ten seconds, and then as if nothing had happened, the equipment returned to the idle state.
This would happen one more time the
entire evening. Both instances were captured to cassette tape for
We may return to the problem of
interpretation of these signals at a later time, but for now, the
reception of biodynamic information from space has once again been
Hopefully, there will be enough interest and time to continue in this experimental direction.
The need for better equipment, and constant monitoring are essential to such a project, but without proper funding, may be delayed for several years. Still, we continue experimentation on the transfer of biological information, and are now working toward development of simple practical applications of this technology.
Working outside of the electromagnetic spectrum into the domain of biological energies opens up a vast new area of research far exceeding the singular employment of interstellar communications.
Technologies which could arise from this pursuit are
manifold, and applications such as point-to-point terrestrial or
extraterrestrial communications, and portable biodynamic detectors
may be a part of the near future.