It is known that the Proxima Centauri star system is merely $\approx 4.25$ light years away from Earth. Moreover, an Earth-like planet has been discovered around Proxima B that is within the habitable zone. Given that there is such a short distance for potentially establishing communication with a hypothetical civilization, why is it that:

  • There have been no serious attempts at sending signals to that system - even if there is a very slim chance of receiving a response, surely the fact that there might be one in only $\approx 9.5$ years is a scientifically motivating one?

  • I understand that some people, like Hawkings, argue that contact with such civilizations should be avoided. Still, I see no significant debates about sending a signal to Proxima. Surely, there would be a number of scientists who support the idea to initiate a debate on the subject?

So, what gives?


closed as primarily opinion-based by sammy gerbil, Kyle Kanos, David Hammen, Jon Custer, John Rennie Jun 20 '17 at 5:42

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ I have voted to close because I think answers will be primarily opinion-based. This is not a question about physics, but about reasons for or against trying to communicate with possible alien life. $\endgroup$ – sammy gerbil Jun 19 '17 at 15:13
  • $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about reasons for sending signals (or not) to (known) exoplanets and not physics. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Jun 19 '17 at 19:30

According to Wikipedia, it's unlikely that the planet you reference is habitable for many reasons, most notably the likely lack of an atmosphere due to intense solar winds. Still, it has been seen as an interesting subject of exploration, as evidenced by the Starshot Breakthrough Initiative. Additionally, trying to send signals has been proposed, as seen here.

As for the case against sending signals to this specific star, maybe people are nervous that its proximity is more of a liability than an asset; in the miniscule chance that an intelligent civilization exists there and would pose a threat to us, then it would be much more dangerous than one at a distant location, which may make people more reluctant to target it.

  • $\begingroup$ I would be fairly sure they know about us already, and that if they were bad hombres we would know by now, assuming there is life there . We have been broadcasting rubbish TV at them for years, maybe that's why they would stay away from us. $\endgroup$ – user154420 Jun 19 '17 at 15:07
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    $\begingroup$ @Countto10: presumably the converse is true: if they were there they'd have been broadcasting rubbish TV at us and we'd know about them by now. $\endgroup$ – tfb Jun 19 '17 at 15:30
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    $\begingroup$ @tfb so that's where Fox "News" comes from....... $\endgroup$ – user154420 Jun 19 '17 at 22:24

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