SETI to hunt for alien 'technosignatures'
By T.K. Randall
February 16, 2020 · 11 comments
Orbiting 'megastructures' would be a prime indicator of alien life. Image Credit: NASA / Rick Guidice
SETI is ramping up its search for intelligent alien life by sniffing out indicators of extraterrestrial technology.
Founded in Mountain View, California back on November 20th, 1984, the SETI Institute has made it its mission to systematically scan the skies for evidence that we are not alone in the universe.
This latest endeavour, which will use data from the Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico, plans to search for the telltale signatures of alien technology on other worlds.
Such 'technosignatures' could include certain combinations of chemicals in a planet's atmosphere or signs of large structures either on the surface or in orbit.
"Determining whether we are alone in the universe as technologically capable life is among the most compelling questions in science," said Dr Tony Beasley, director of Virginia's NRAO telescope.
"As the VLA conducts its usual scientific observations, this new system will allow for an additional and important use for the data we're already collecting."
In addition to this, computer-generated simulated environments are being developed to help support future searches and all the data collected will be made available to the public as well.
"Upcoming telescopes in space and on the ground will have the capability to observe the atmospheres of Earth-sized planets orbiting nearby cool stars, so it's important to understand how best to recognise signs of habitability and life on these planets," said NASA's Victoria Meadows.
"These computer models will help us determine whether an observed planet is more or less likely to support life."
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