Even the US Congress is also interested in finding giant superstructures created by alien intelligence.
Over the past decade, we’ve created amazing instruments that allow you to observe deep stars and discover the many planets that revolve around them. These discoveries like to fuel the fire in the search for non-Earth life forms. Including the SETI project focused on researching intelligence in space. If life can be born on other planets, the question is, why don’t we look for signs other than chemical like the presence of oxygen?
We can find signs of technology. Things like radio waves, even mega-infrastructures – things of enormous size. A good example is the Dyson sphere hypothesis – a giant structure the size of a star that revolves around the star and uses the energy emitted by the star to function. As reported earlier this week, for the first time in its history, NASA has quietly started researching superstructures.
Biomarker probes have been heavily funded in recent decades. In contrast, the search for technological signs has seen many ups and downs. In 1993, NASA abandoned an exploration project to search for microwave signals of artificial origin in space. This event put the search for signs of the technology on hold for several decades.
Since 2019, NASA has awarded $ 4,000 to fund research for technological signs. In November 2020, NASA awarded a $ 1,000 grant to Ann Marie Cody of NASA’s Ames Research Center and Steve Croft, former astronomer and Breakthrough Listen project leader at SETI Berkely Research Center. These two scientists are responsible for observing the entire sky to identify if there are any unusual objects in the universe.
Cody studies the natural causes of star twinkling against the dark background of the Universe. They can be due to objects orbiting the stars or to black dots on the surface of the star. This is one of the many ways to probe to see if there are objects around the stars, and maybe there are objects orbiting the stars that are a super ant built by aliens.
There are several reasons why NASA is starting to reorient research funding. In 2015, private investor Yuri Milner began funding Breakthrough Listen for $ 100 million to conduct 10-year research. Money has enabled many developments, some of which have even been published in many leading astronomical journals.
Even the US Congress was interested, so NASA hosted the Technology Signs Workshop in September 2018.
Mr. Croft believes astronomy has evolved enough to spur the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Thanks to telescopes like Kepler and TESS, astronomers believe that one in five planets has potential conditions for life. NASA also spent billions of dollars on astrobiological research last year, including the Mars Rover probe, which aims to probe life on Mars.
The team’s strategy is to “find anomalies” – in other words, unusual changes in starlight. The difficulty lies in the large amount of data. The team is developing machine learning algorithms to automatically classify from data collected by the TESS Space Telescope. As a result, scientists can quickly detect anomalies.
Of course, there are other tech signs to watch out for as well. In 2019, NASA funded Adam Frank from the University of Rochester and his colleagues to find out if there are any planets showing signs of pollution, or have solar cells covering their surface. This is the first NASA-funded project to look for signs of technology beyond radio waves. “What you need is a list of potential signs, so that when you look at the data, you can ask yourself: is there something wrong, a technological sign?
The Croft team let the algorithm learn this list of signs and then read the data. “If we can’t detect them, maybe the algorithm is not sensitive enough to the data, or we need to change the parameters of the algorithm,” says Croft. This algorithm successfully detected the Voyager 1 spacecraft’s radio signal in a data mix of many background radio waves.
Based on other previous studies, though any of the results shouldn’t be immediately due to aliens. However, they bring new knowledge about strange phenomena in nature. “Whatever the discovery, it’s going to be interesting.”