(ORDO NEWS) — We know – we prove it – that intelligent civilizations are possible. Finding signs of other civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy is not easy, but we have the tools at our disposal. Based on our own technological capabilities, we can extrapolate what signals alien technology might emit and look for them.
These signs are called technosignatures, and our search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) efforts revolve around them, especially in radio waves.
“One of the big benefits of looking for techno signatures on radio waves is that we’re sensitive to signals emitted thousands of light years away and doesn’t require a lot of energy,” said astronomer Jean-Luc Margot of the University of California, Los Angeles.
“For example, our search could detect the planetary radar Arecibo over 400 light years away. And he can detect a transmitter that’s only 1,000 times more powerful than Arecibo – a trivial improvement for an advanced civilization – all the way to the center. galaxies. The volume of the galaxy, which can be tracked by radio techno signature search, is enormous.”
Margot and his team recently searched for techno signatures with the Green Bank Telescope, a powerful radio telescope in Virginia.
In April 2018 and 2019, the total observation time was four hours, they focused on 31 stars similar to the Sun around the galactic plane, finding a total of 26,631,913 techno signature candidates.
A closer analysis of the data showed that each of these techno signatures was created right here on Earth.
But the methods used to process this data represent a significant step forward in identifying possible alien technosignatures, extracting them from background interference and the ringing of anthropogenic radio noise – what we call radio frequency interference. Navigation technology, satellite technology, mobile phones, microwave ovens, airplanes, communications; we constantly wash our environment with radio frequency radiation.
“The radiation has the potential to obscure the extraterrestrial signal,” Margot said. “Radio interference complicates our work, because we detect tens of millions of signals per hour of telescope time, and we need to identify each individual signal: is it man-made or extraterrestrial?
“It would be much easier if we only found a few signals. Fortunately, our algorithms allow us to automatically classify over 99.8% of the signals.”
And, of course, there is a possibility – small but nonzero – that we might find something.
“The quest may answer one of the deepest scientific questions of our time: Are we alone?” said Margot.
“All life on Earth is linked to a common ancestor, and the discovery of other forms of life will revolutionize our understanding of living systems. On a more philosophical level, it will change our perception of humanity’s place in space.
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