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The Science Workshop, especially at its second, third, and fourth meetings, debated all considerations concerning whether the probability of finding signals from an extraterrestrial civilization is maximized in any particular frequency band. To the extent this problem requires knowledge of the motivation of such civilizations, it cannot be solved, but there are physical and philosophical arguments which imply that the frequency band between 1400 and 1727 MHz should have high priority for a search effort (see Section II-4). Because of the sensitivity of any interstellar search system (ISS), it is very important that the only telecommunications services which operate in this band be those that will not cause harmful interference to an ISS. In 1979 a general World Administrative Radio Conference (WARC) will be held; it will allocate world-wide use of the radio spectrum and allocations made then are likely to determine spectrum usage for the remainder of this century. The Science Workshop recognized the importance of obtaining protection of the 1400 to 1727 MHz band for SETI use at the 1979 WARC and, to emphasize this need, adopted the following resolution.
In recognition of the rapidly advancing national preparation for the 1979 general World Administrative Radio Conference (WARC), the Science Workshop adopts the following final statement of policy:
1. There are important frequency bands for a search for radio signals from extraterrestrial intelligent civilizations. These are:
a. 1.400 to 1.427 GHz
b. 1.427 to 1.727 GHz
The 1.400 to 1.427-GHz band is of interest because interstellar transmissions may take place around the hydrogen line, while the 1.427 to 1.727-GHz band is located between the hydrogen and hydroxyl lines and lies near the minimum of the noise background. 1.400 to 1.427 GHz is currently allocated exclusively to the radio astronomy service and may be shared with it, while 1.427 to 1.727 GHz may be shared with services whose use will not cause harmful interference to the operation of an ISS.
2. Existing radio telescopes are already being used to search for radio signals from extraterrestrial civilizations, while the feasibility of constructing a very large ground-based ISS has been established. The performance of any ground-based instrument will, however, be seriously degraded by radio-frequency interference, primarily from line-of-sight transmitters. The only identified alternatives to an Earth-based ISS are:
Both of these are possible in the future, but we do not know at what cost. Furthermore, a space-based ISS, unless shielded at additional expense, remains vulnerable to interference from satellite and ground-based transmitters; while an ISS on the far side of the Moon is vulnerable to all transmissions originating beyond the lunar orbit. Thus, there exists a need for RFI protection. We strongly recommend:
a. That the U.S. undertake immediate studies to determine detailed frequency protection requirements for an ISS, and submit the results of such studies to the 1977 Final Meeting of the International Radio Consultative Committee (CCIR) for inclusion in the supporting documents of the 1979 WARC, and
b. That the U.S. prepare and present to other administrations at the 1979 WARC a proposal which will include an ISS.
i) Allocations for new satellite systems at frequencies outside the protected bands.
ii) Appropriate frequency sharing criteria for uses compatible with the operation of an ISS.
iii) Technical criteria for allowable spurious radiation from out-of-band uses.
iv) Phase-out of interfering uses now operating in the protected bands.
Subsequent to the Science Workshop deliberations and during the preparation of the final report, the SETI radio frequency protection need received its first international recognition. Reproduced below is Addendum No. 1 to Volume II, XIIIth Plenary Assembly of the CCIR, Geneva, 1974.
Note by the Director, C.C.I.R.
Subsequent to the publication of Volume II (Space Research and Radio Astronomy) of the documents of the XIIIth Plenary Assembly of the C.C.I.R., a new text relating to search for extraterrestrial life has been submitted for adoption by correspondence, in conformity with the provisions of No. 308 of the International Telecommunication Convention, Torremolinos, 1973.
It has received more than the twenty approvals necessary for its adoption by the Members of the I.T.U. and has therefore become an official Question of the C.C.I.R.
The text is as follows:
(a) that many scientists believe intelligent life to be common in our galaxy;
(b) that electromagnetic waves are presently the only practical means of detecting the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life;
(c) that it is believed to be technically possible to receive radio signals from extraterrestrial civilizations;
(d) that, although it is not possible to know the characteristics nor to predict the time or duration of these signals in advance, it is reasonable to believe that artificial signals will be recognizable;
(e) that, while an artificial radio signal of extraterrestrial origin may be transmitted at any frequency, it is technologically impractical to search the entire radio spectrum but the band searched should be sufficiently wide to make detection of a signal reasonably probable;
(f) that technological and natural factors which are dependent on frequency determine our ability to receive weak radio signals;
(g) that while the search for radio signals from extraterrestrial civilizations has already begun, more sensitive systems will be in use by the 1980's which could receive harmful interference from very weak man-made signals;
(h) that it is necessary to share the bands in which the search is conducted with other Services;
(i) that available technology will allow a search for these signals from the earth, from earth-orbit, and, eventually, from the moon and to minimize interference, certain locations on earth and in space may be preferred;
1. what are the most probable characteristics of radio signals which might be broadcast by extraterrestrial civilizations and the technical characteristics and requirements of a system to search for them;
2. what are the preferred frequency bands to be searched and the criteria from which they are determined;
3. what protection is necessary for receiving systems conducting a search for artificial radio signals of extraterrestrial origin;
4. what criteria will make operation of a search system feasible in shared, adjacent and harmonically related bands of other Services;
5. what is the optimum search method;
6. what are the preferred locations, on earth and in space, for a search system ?
Addendum No. 1 to Volume II, XIIIth P.A. of the C.C.I.R., Geneva, 1974