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The bet is already won!
Written by H. Paul Shuch   
In a brilliant comment on the Long Bets site for our bet, H. Paul Shuch, Executive Director Emeritus of The SETI League and Principal Investigator for Invitation to ETI, argues to interpret radio messages as truly interstellar missions. 

I would argue that the first interstellar missions have already launched, and that (with only a little imagination) they meet the conditions of the bet. They are not spacecraft, but rather streams of photons.

Think about it: interstellar microwave transmissions probe other civilizations' interest in dialog, and pass numerous stars, thus are "flyby probes" in a sense.

They are transmitted specifically for the purpose of reaching other solar systems. They have been "launched" (transmitted) several times from Earth, which is clearly within the orbit of Neptune.

Some have conveyed scientific information about Earth, which satisfies the condition that they "deliver data for at least one scientific measurement."

They travel at the speed of light, so within the 2,000 year mission duration, will reach stars within 2,000 LY of our own Sun.

And they are widely supported by the public, as witness the large number of humans who have submitted messages to the various projects that beam them into space. So, congratulations Tibor, you win!

Links:

The SETI League: http://www.setileague.org/
Invitation to ETI: http://ieti.org/ 
Last Updated ( Monday, 22 September 2008 )
 
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