SETI enthusiasts have devised all sorts of complicated ways for us to find signs of alien life, but a new paper suggests we may be overthinking it. Instead of looking for megastructures and spaceships, we should consider something a bit more obvious: Alien satellites and space junk in orbit around distant exoplanets.
Tagged With search for extraterrestrial intelligence
Late last year, astronomers detected the first known interstellar asteroid, dubbed 'Oumuamua. New research suggests these exotic objects are more abundant than we thought, an observation that boosts the panspermia hypothesis - the idea that asteroids seeded life on Earth. At the same time, the presence of so many foreign objects in our Solar System could also change the way we search for extraterrestrial life.
On October 19, 2017, astronomers witnessed the first known interstellar asteroid - a bizarre, cigar-shaped rock that, just as quickly as it entered into our Solar System, exited in a hurry. Not satisfied that 'Oumuamua, as it's been named, is just an odd asteroid, astronomers from Breakthrough Listen recently tuned their Green Bank telescope into the object to see if it's an alien spaceship or some kind of probe. The preliminary results are now in and - brace yourself - it's still a rock.
In the year 2030, a powerful radio transmission originating from Earth will arrive at a potentially habitable exoplanet located approximately 12.4 light years away. Should any alien intelligence be there to receive it, they're in for quite a treat: This binary stream of data contains short musical clips from some of the world's best electronic musicians. It's part art, part science - but considering we know virtually nothing about extraterrestrials, should we really be calling attention to ourselves?
Every 100 years or so, our Sun gives off a great big belch that sends an intense wave of charged particles towards Earth. This wasn't a problem in the past, but our high-tech civilisation is now disturbingly vulnerable to these solar storms. A new study quantifies the economic risks posed by these extreme solar storms, while also proposing a super-futuristic solution to the problem: An Earth-sized shield built in outer space.
Some day in the far future, it's possible our descendants will kick it up a notch and wrap the entire Sun in a massive solar-collecting shell known as a Dyson Sphere. It's also possible that some advanced alien civilisations have already gone this route, which is why some SETI folks are on the lookout for these hypothetical objects. But a new study proposes that aliens are more likely to build megastructures around pulsars than stars -- and importantly, we should be able to detect these objects from Earth using current technology.
We have yet to find any traces of extraterrestrial intelligence, a vexing problem known as the Fermi Paradox. A new solution to the "where are all the aliens?" conundrum suggests that advanced aliens do exist -- but they're in a self-imposed state of hibernation, waiting for a future era of the cosmos in which they can flourish to the greatest extent possible. How very convenient.
Some SETI researchers believe the best way to detect aliens is to search the skies for their laser beams. In the largest survey of its kind, astronomers scanned 5600 stars in search of these optical signals -- and they found... absolutely nothing. Nada. Zilch. Here's what that means to SETI and the ongoing hunt for alien intelligence.
Since their discovery 10 years ago, fast radio bursts have confounded astronomers. These intergalactic pulses of radio energy have defied explanation, but a new theory suggests a technological origin, whereby aliens use these beams to propel their ships through space. Extremely speculative stuff, to be sure, but it's an idea worth pursuing given just how weird these pulses are.
Yesterday, news made the rounds that a team of Russian astronomers had detected an unusually strong signal emanating from a nearby sunlike star -- a possible indication of an alien civilisation. Here's what the detection of this signal really means, and why it's probably not ET.
Astronomers using the RATAN-600 radio telescope in the Russian Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia have detected an unusual signal emanating from a star located about 94 light-years from Earth. It's not clear if the signal is being transmitted by aliens, but the researchers say we should keep a close watch on this intriguing new extraterrestrial candidate.
Jupiter is often referred to as a "failed star", leading some futurists to wonder if our descendants might set it ablaze in a process called planetary stellification. A new study suggests this is indeed theoretically possible -- and that we should be on the hunt for galactic aliens who have already converted their gas giants into stellar objects.
The disturbing Fermi Paradox suggests we should have made contact with an extraterrestrial civilisation by now, yet we haven't. By applying a 500-year-old philosophical principle, a Cornell University researcher has shown that the Great Silence is not unexpected -- we just need to give it more time.