Searching exo-solar skies with Colossus—a new Telescope

Unique Design of Colossus Optical/IR telescope: The Gregorian focus of the telescope.

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The unique design was developed by Innovative Optics Ltd. Of Canada

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There are some in the astronomical community who wish to hasten the pace of SETI—and that is good news. Given we cannot reach other exo-solar habitable zones, readily communicate with, nor discern all spectra of biosignatures, an achievable SETI project is currently in the works. The project named Colossus is a promising candidate for the following reasons: (1) when completed it will be the largest land-base optical/ir telescope (2) the design of the new 74-meter scope searches for ‘earth-like’ biosignatures (thermal signatures) (3) the search is non-invasive (or passive by design) and (4) Colossus is privately funded by entrepreneurs and scientists.

Whereas past SETI projects received a lot of government funding and input, the current project does not answer to the government and is better focused. I learned of the project from a SETI Institute Google+ hangout video—and I was wholly impressed by the speaker’s range and depth of knowledge.

The process of detecting another Earth-like civilization is learning to understand the ‘laws of thermodynamics.’ As a species we consume a lot of energy and thereby produce heat because of our energy consumption. (I don’t speak of global warming.) The signature of energy consumption differentiates us from a planet that is solely inhabited by bacteria or animals—if you will. It is, in a word, commonsense. Thus—the so-called biosignature is a heat signature, as well. The human, heat signature impacts the atmospheric chemistry which influences the spectral biosignatures.



SETI Talk – The Colossus Project: Designing an optical/IR instrument to detect life outside the solar system

Project Website




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