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Spacebots only way to find ETs: expert

United States America,Science/Tech, Thu, 19 Apr 2012 IANS

Washington, April 19 (IANS) Deploying self-replicating robots or exobots in space explorations could be the only way to find extraterrestrial life and clean up space junk, says an expert.




"Developing and deploying self-replicating robotic space crafts with incumbent communication systems is the only way to efficiently explore the asteroid belt," said John D. Mathews, professor of electrical engineering at Penn State University.



"The basic premise is that human space explorations must be highly efficient, cost effective and autonomous, as placing humans beyond low Earth orbit is fraught with political, economic and technical difficulties," Mathews was quoted as saying by the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society.



"If aliens are out there, they may have the same problems as we have -- they need to conserve resources, are subjected to the laws of physics and they may not even be eager to meet us," according to Mathews, said a Penn statement.



Mathews assumes that any extraterrestrial life would need to follow a similar path to the stars, sending robots rather than living beings, which would explain why SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligent), which is now in its 50th year, has not succeeded to date.



"If they are like us, they too have a dysfunctional government and all the other problems plaguing us," said Mathews. "They may not want to spend a lot to communicate with us."



It is extremely difficult to broadcast into the galaxy as it requires vast resources. Radio signals need to emanate in every direction to fill the sky, and the energy requirement to broadcast throughout space is quite high, said Mathews.



He suggested that robots could go where many people might not want to go and do work that many might not consider to do.



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