Patterns in the Chaos
With the advent of Radio Astronomy, the depths of the space have slowly been revealing its secrets to explorers over the past three decades. Space is written in the language of radio waves, and all that it is required to translate it is the skill, equipment, and desire.
For the past three decades astronomers have been decoding the myths of space through radio signals. Every object in space, from planets, satellites, comets, and even debris gives off radio emissions that astronomers can track. From the information gathered by those signals, they can theorize about the object's creation, evolution, and death. Think of the Universe as a blueprint in radio waves, and that is a pretty good idea of what astronomers see. Major discoveries in space exploration have been due to radio astronomy, and with each progressive success, new applicable technologies have been found.
As Contact describes in great detail, with radio astronomy, contact with distant civilizations is finally possible. The Earth emits millions of radio signals everyday into the depths of space. These signals are broadcast at the speed of light and travel to nearby and distant planetary systems. Now, with radio astronomy, we can pick up the same signals that other civilizations may be broadcasting at the same time. If ET or little green men are calling, we now have the power to receive their message.
However, the practical approaches to radio astronomy are immeasurable. Already, technologies derived from radio astronomy includes cellular telephone communication, satellite radio, GPS tracking, and various military applications. With additional radio telescopes that can combine together, astronomers are able to see deeper into space than ever before. The benefits of this technology help bring people, as well as the stars, closer.
The language of the stars has been shown, and it is important that we understand the message. The truths of existence, life, and creation are mapped on the stars, and with radio astronomy, we are that much closer to discovering it. Carl Sagan went to great lengths to showcase the importance of pure research, particularly in the fields of radio astronomy. As he writes in Contact, "The tools have been given for understanding, and understanding is the key," Sagan's Contact is the vehicle for which he expressed his cause.
To learn more about Radio Astronomy, visit the National Radio Astronomy Observatory Website (NRAO).