An Australian radio telescope has searched far and wide but found no sign of alien technology across 10 million star systems.
The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope, which calls the Western Australian desert home, searched a patch of the universe using low frequencies to detect signs of technology in the vast spacescape.
The results, published in Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, revealed nothing more than regular space life despite observing more than 10 million star systems.
“We observed the sky around the constellation of Vela for 17 hours, looking more than 100 times broader and deeper than ever before,” Dr Chenoa Tremblay, a CSIRO astronomer on the study, said in a media release.
“With this dataset, we found no technosignatures—no sign of intelligent life.”
That’s science talk for there were no radio emissions detected — something alien civilisations would presumably have.
But it doesn’t mean the truth isn’t out there, as The X-Files constantly reminds us. It just means we haven’t been able to find any evidence that intelligent, sentient life exists outside of Earth.
Curtin University’s Professor Steven Tingay, who co-authored the study with Dr Tremblay, conceded the result was largely expected, despite being one of the biggest observations ever undertaken.
“Even though this was a really big study, the amount of space we looked at was the equivalent of trying to find something in the Earth’s oceans but only searching a volume of water equivalent to a large backyard swimming pool,” Professor Tingay said.
“Since we can’t really assume how possible alien civilisations might utilise technology, we need to search in many different ways. Using radio telescopes, we can explore an eight-dimensional search space.
“Although there is a long way to go in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, telescopes such as the MWA will continue to push the limits—we have to keep looking.”
For now, the quest for uncovering alien life continues.