(ORDO NEWS) — Do aliens exist? Almost certainly. The universe is vast and ancient, and our corner of it is no different. If life originated here, it probably originated somewhere else.
Keep in mind that this is a very broad assumption. It only takes one instance of fossilized archaebacteria-like organisms five superclusters away from us to say, “Yes, aliens exist!” …if we could somehow find them.
Until we can send paleontologists to other galaxies, the best way to look for aliens is to stay at home and look for “techno signatures.”
What it is? To be honest, we don’t know, but we can make some good guesses. For example, when we use radio to communicate, we produce signals that are very different from the natural kind of energy you get from a star.
It’s reasonable to assume that aliens would do the same for their satellites. communications, so we’re basically looking for unnatural looking radio signals from fixed points far out in space.
Radio sounding or any scientific attempt to detect non-human techno-signatures can be called a Search. for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). SETI activities are typically led by organizations such as the SETI Institute and Breakthrough Listen.
Citizen scientists play a key role in analyzing data as it is collected, and sometimes even make their own follow-up observations of possible discoveries.
So far, several candidate discoveries have been made, but none of them have been confirmed.
This is not surprising since the universe is vast and ancient. It’s a matter of sample size. As Jill Tarter noted, if you scoop up a glass of ocean water and look for fish in it, you probably won’t find it. As the time spent searching increases and technology improves, our chances of being discovered increase.
Are there aliens nearby?
Probably not, for the same reason that the universe is huge and ancient. It takes more technology than Earth has to overcome more resources than our entire solar system has to get here.
SETI can be done at home, detecting radio, optical, and gravitational waves. Messages could be exchanged between civilizations with the same technology.
Apart from tourism, there are no special reasons for the trip. But should we check? Of course! Even if we don’t find aliens, who knows what else we might find out with a search?
Our first task here is to determine the size of the solar system. Neptune revolves around the Sun at an average distance of 30 astronomical units. The Oort cloud can extend up to 100,000 AU. from the sun. The search volume difference factor is over 37 billion.
By comparison, if you need to find an alien in New York and you forgot to ask “city or state?” the difference factor in the search area will be only 180.
The next big problem has to do with secrecy, a special case of the Fermi paradox. If they’re here, the aliens don’t seem to make much of an effort to say hello.
Whether it’s that their artifacts are inert, their sensors are passive, their technologies are undetected by us – or they just don’t exist – remains to be seen.
This puzzle is at the dramatic second act basis of most submarine movies, but at least in those movies you know there are other guys out there. So either we send Sean Connery there to have the aliens give us a signal, just one signal, or…
Founded in July 2021 by Avi Loeb and Frank. Lokien of Harvard University, Project Galileo is the first research program to search for astro-archaeological artifacts near the Earth.
Basically they use the term “extraterrestrial technological civilizations” (ETC) instead of ETI – basically the same thing, but without assessing alien intelligence by human standards.
The Galileo team has been very consistent in giving a rational tone to the discourse. around alien visitation. For example, the project has publicly committed to testing only “known physics” hypotheses and only analyzing new data.
The project is “outcome independent”, which means that its sole purpose is to collect and analyze data in a reliable and reproducible way, openly sharing both the data and their verifiable findings.
For science, all this is normal and expected, but for those who are really interested in ancient aliens, the Galileo project is a much-needed breath of fresh air.
The Galileo project has three main experimental areas:
– Image of Unidentified Air Phenomena (UAP) in infrared, radio and optical ranges and recording of audio data. The team designed, built and deployed their own surveillance equipment and artificial intelligence to collect and interpret this data (shown below).
At the time of this writing, the toolkit has been deployed for calibration and testing and will be redeployed to full operation in the next few months.
– Rendezvousing with future Interstellar Objects (ISOs) passing through the Solar System, such as ‘Oumuamua and 2I/Borisov, with an estimated project budget of just over $1 billion, or about a quarter of the cost of a single SLS launch.
– Reconstruction of fragments of interstellar objects that collided with the Earth, such as CNEOS on January 08, 2014, which fell off the coast of Papua New Guinea. At the time of writing, the expedition has just been fully funded and production of specialized equipment has begun.
– Searching for small alien satellites in Earth orbit using the Vera S. Rubin Observatory when it becomes operational in 2023.
This will require the development of new advanced software to detect very small and fast moving objects, probably in irregular orbits. The AI will also search for data from human-made satellites, looking for nearby alien technosignatures.
Focusing on physical artifacts is SETI’s new strategy, but Loeb and Lokien are optimistic. Artifacts, they note, are necessarily less fleeting than radio signals.
Although the object may be technically more difficult to detect than the signal, the object must not be repeated in some way if it was missed the first time. Also, unlike light, most physical objects in our galaxy are gravitationally bound to it. This makes physical object detection less time-critical.
Like any SETI project, the Galileo project must do their best with what they have. In its current state, the project has not been able to detect a magnetic anomaly on our Moon, let alone the time capsule left for humanity on Planet X.
(Frankly, Planet X has not yet been discovered, only predicted). But the experimental trails that are already in motion illustrate three cost-effective ways to explore three reasonable sets of assumptions about what alien visits might look like.
The bottom line is that, as Loeb writes, “the lack of ‘extraordinary evidence’ is often self-guided ignorance.” The Galileo project does not explore some trivial things like black swans or square trees; he dispassionately asks one of humanity’s most fundamental questions in a new way. “We are alone?” Well, let’s start by looking at the backyard.
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