Scientists are almost certain that humanity is not alone in the Universe. For them, if life emerged on Earth, it probably also emerged elsewhere. However, this does not indicate that we will encounter extraterrestrial beings, because the universe is vast and we have not yet explored even the tip of this iceberg. Despite the difficulties, there are several research projects focused on finding evidence of life on other planets, mostly in search of techno-signatures. Understand how it works.
The techno-signature is evidence of technology used by intelligent beings on other planets. An example of this is the radio waves used in communication. The signals produced in this case are very different from the radio waves emitted by cosmic objects, like a star, located somewhere in space.
Researchers believe the extraterrestrials created some kind of radio communication, hence the investment in finding these signals. Any type of evidence to this effect may fall under the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). Several signs have already been found, however, none have been confirmed.
In general, SETI efforts are usually led by organizations such as the SETI Institute and Breakthrough Listen. Many citizen scientists also collaborate with the project and play a key role in analyzing the data collected.
On one occasion, astronomer Jill Tarter said that “if you took a glass of ocean water and looked for fish, you probably wouldn’t find any”, the same can apply to finding fish. intelligent life beyond Earth. Fortunately, as scientists spend more time searching, the technology improves and the chances of detection increase.
Along the way, researchers encounter difficulties in the search for extraterrestrial life. Among them is the definition of the size of the solar system itself. While Neptune orbits the Sun at an average distance of 30 AU, the Oort Cloud can extend up to 100,000 AU from the Sun. The difference generated for the search perimeter is in the billions.
Another challenge is related to the Fermi paradox. He considers that if extraterrestrials exist, apparently they do not want to be found. This assertion stems from the fact that the artifacts eventually produced by these individuals are either inert, their technology is undetectable by us, or they are simply not there.
In July 2021, Project Galileo was perpetrated by Harvard University researchers Avi Loeb and Frank Laukien. It represents the first scientific research initiative aimed at finding astro-archaeological artifacts near Earth.
The Galileo team has publicly pledged to test only “known physical” hypotheses and to analyze only new data on extraterrestrial life. Separately, they said the project will collect and analyze data in a reliable and reproducible manner, openly sharing what was analyzed and testable conclusions. From a scientific perspective, this is the expected conduct and standard in this type of research.
There are three main observation axes of the Galileo project. The first will search in Images of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP). The team structured the project, built and deployed its own observation and artificial intelligence equipment to collect and interpret the data.
The second axis will focus on the Encounter with future Interstellar Objects (ISO) crossing the Solar System such as Oumuamua and 2I/Borisov, from the recovery of fragments of interstellar objects that have collided with the Earth, such as CNEOS 2014- 01-08 which hit the coast of Papua New Guinea.
Finally, in 2023, the Vera C. Rubin observatory will come into service and will allow the search for small extraterrestrial satellites that can orbit around the Earth. While SETI searches for radio signals, the Galileo project aims to find interstellar objects. Both areas are challenging and will require many technological and human capabilities in research and data interpretation.
Via: Science Alert
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