Aliens may make contact with Earth in the near future: scientists
The meeting is closer than ever.
Humanity may be able to contact an alien race as early as 2029, according to a recent analysis of deep space radio waves sent from Earth.
Researchers from the University of California campuses at Berkley and LA compiled a list of stars and planets sure to encounter Earth’s signals within the next century, while also concluding that the first return message could come as early as six years from now. .
“This is a famous idea from Carl Sagan, who used it as a plot theme in the movie ‘Contact,'” lead researcher Howard Isaacson, an astronomer from the University of California, Berkeley, told Popsci.com.
Researchers use the laws of physics to determine how quickly signals from NASA’s Deep Space Network can be returned, and several important insights about travel time have been found.
A signal sent to Pioneer 10 – a spacecraft that flew past Jupiter in 1973 – caused the radio transmission to reach a dead white dwarf star in 2002. This is the star that, if extraterrestrial life is around, could respond to Earth by 2029.
Similar transmissions were sent to the Voyager 2 launched in 1977 between 1980 and 1983, and in 2007 made contact with a brown dwarf star 24 light-years away. Potential aliens could respond by the early 2030s, according to the researchers.
The analysis “gives Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence researchers a smaller group of stars to focus on,” said lead author Reilly Derrick of UCLA.
This new list of stars can be used by radio astronomers to listen for signals at predetermined times and point radio telescopes in the direction of said stars at the same time.
However, some experts say it’s time to return to Earth from these lofty ideals.
“If a response were to be sent, our ability to detect it would depend on many factors,” said Penn State astronomer Macy Huston. This includes “how long or often we check the star for a response, and how long or often the return signal is sent.”
Jean-Luc Margot, another UCLA radio astronomer who was not involved in the study, thinks it’s time to remove the aluminum hats, too.
“Our tiny and rare transmissions are unlikely to yield any detection of humanity by aliens,” he said.
“The chances of another civilization being in this little bubble are extremely slim unless there are millions of civilizations in the galaxy.”