Are there aliens? Pretty sure. The universe is huge and ancient, and our corner of it isn’t particularly special. If life originated here, it probably originated elsewhere. Keep in mind that this is a very broad assumption. A single instance of fossilized archaebacteria-like organisms five superclusters away would be all it takes to say, “Yes, there are aliens!”…if we could somehow find them.
Until we can send paleontologists to other galaxies, the best way to look for aliens is to stay home and look for “techno signatures.” what are they exactly We honestly don’t know, but we can make some good guesses.
For example, when we use radios to communicate, we generate signals that are very different from the natural type of energy you get from a star. It’s reasonable to assume aliens would do the same for their communications, so we’re mainly looking for unnatural-Searching for radio signals from distant fixed points in space.
Radiosensing, or any scientific attempt to detect non-human techno-signatures, can be referred to as Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). SETI’s efforts are generally guided by organizations such as the SETI Institute and Breakthrough Lists. Citizen Scientists play a key role in analyzing data as it is collected and sometimes even making their own follow-up observations on potential discoveries.
Several candidates have been discovered so far, but none have been confirmed. This is not a surprise since the universe is vast and ancient. It depends on the sample size. As Jill Tarter said, if you scooped up a glass of seawater and searched it for fish, you probably wouldn’t find any. As search time increases and technology improves, our chances of detection improve.
Are aliens around?
Probably not, for the same reason the universe is vast and ancient. It takes more technology than Earth has to travel past more resources than our entire solar system has just to get here. SETI can be performed from the home by detecting radio, optical, and gravitational waves. Messages could be exchanged between civilizations using the same technology.
Without tourism, there just isn’t much reason to make the trip. But should we check that? Secure! Even if we don’t find aliens, who knows what else we might learn from searching?
Our first challenge here is to define the size of the solar system. Neptune orbits the Sun at an average distance of 30 AU. The Oort Cloud can be as far as 100,000 AU from the Sun. The factor of difference in search volume is over 37 billion. Compared to when you were assigned to find an alien in New York and you forgot to ask “city or state”? the factor of the difference in the search area would only be 180.
The next big challenge is camouflage – a special case of the Fermi paradox. When they’re here, the aliens don’t seem to bother to say hello very much. It remains to be seen if it’s because their artifacts are dormant, their sensors are passive, their technology is undetectable to us, or they’re just not there. This conundrum is at the dramatic core of the second act of most submarine movies, but at least in those movies you know the other guys are there. So we either send Sean Connery there for the aliens to ping us, just a ping, or…
The Galileo Project
Founded in July 2021 by Harvard University’s Avi Loeb and Frank Laukien, the Galileo Project is the first scientific research program to search for astroarchaeological artifacts near Earth. They mostly use the term Extraterrestrial Technological Civilizations (ETCs) instead of ETI – basically the same thing but without judging extraterrestrial intelligence by human standards.
The Galileo team has been very consistent in bringing a rational tone to the discourse on 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’, meaning that its sole objective is to collect and analyze data in a reliable and reproducible manner, and to openly share both the data and their testable conclusions. This is all normal and expected for science, but for anyone genuinely curious about ancient aliens, the Galileo project is a much-needed breath of fresh air.
The Galileo project has 4 main experimental tracks:
4. Imaging of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) in the infrared, radio and optical bands and for recording audio data.
The team designed, built and deployed their own observation equipment and AI to collect and interpret this data. At the time of writing, the instrument suite has been deployed for calibration and testing purposes and will be deployed again for full operation over the next few months.
3. Rendezvous with future interstellar objects (ISOs) flying through the solar system like ‘Oumuamua and 2I/Borisov, with an estimated project budget of just over $1 billion, or about a quarter the price of a single SLS launch.
2. Recovery of fragments from interstellar objects colliding with Earthlike CNEOS 2014-01-08, which struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea.
At the time of writing, an expedition has just been fully funded and production of special machines has begun.
1. Search for small extraterrestrial satellites orbiting the earth with the Vera C. Rubin Observatory when it goes live in 2023.
This requires the development of new advanced software to detect very small and fast-moving objects that are likely to be in irregular orbits. The AI will also scan data from man-made satellites for nearby extraterrestrial techno-signatures.
Focusing on physical artifacts is a new strategy at SETI, but Loeb and Laukien are optimistic. They point out that artifacts are necessarily less volatile than radio signals. While an object might technically be harder to detect than a signal, an object wouldn’t need to somehow repeat itself if it misses the first time. Also unlike light, most physical objects in our galaxy are gravitationally bound to it. This makes the detection of a physical object less time-critical.
Like any SETI effort, the Galileo project needs to make the best of what it has. In its current state, the project has failed to detect any magnetic anomaly on our moon, let alone a time capsule left for humanity on Planet X. (To be fair, Planet X hasn’t been discovered yet, just predicted.) But the Traces Already In Motion experiment illustrate three inexpensive ways to explore a reasonable set of assumptions about what alien visits might look like .
The bottom line, as Loeb writes, “the lack of exceptional evidence is often self-inflicted ignorance.” The Galileo project does not examine trivialities such as black swans or square trees; it asks one of humanity’s most fundamental questions in a fresh and unbiased way.
“Are we alone?” Well, let’s start by checking the backyard.
Would you like to be among the first to know when the Galileo project makes an interesting discovery? Go to Twitter and follow him @universumtoday. Then be sure to follow @galileoproject1. Based on Seth Shostak’s account of a candidate’s radio discovery in 1997, there’s a good chance you’ll find out before your head of state!
This article was originally published on universe today through Seth Lockman. Read the original article here.