We lowly humans have spent the past few decades searching for alien life via the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) initiative, and now there are two creative new programs that might actually hold the key to making contact with E.T.
Basically, we’re trying out some new ways to look for alien signals bouncing around in deep space — much like the random signal noise we’ve been blasting out into space ever since we figured out how to use radios and TVs.
The Panchromatic SETI project will use multiple telescopes to scan a variety of wavelengths from 30 stars near the sun looking for strong signals that have been beamed into space. Along with the Panchromatic project, SETI is rolling out what has been dubbed an interplanetary eavesdropping program that will search for messages beamed between planets in a single system. You know, so we can intercept their sneaky Earth invasion plans.
When discussing the projects at a recent speaking engagement, Berkley SETI Research Center director Dan Werthimer noted that since we’re polluting space with everything from Top 40 hits to old I Love Lucy episodes (which have reached thousands of stars by now, FYI), maybe aliens are “sending something our way” in a similar fashion.
While figuring out what type of planet-to-planet signals they’ll be looking for, chief scientist of the eavesdropping project Andrew Siemion said the detection algorithms will be sensitive to communications that are similar to what NASA’s Deep Space Network uses, so here’s hoping E.T. is using similar tech. Siemion said if it's of sufficient power, “we could hear it,” so here's hoping.
Hey, who knows — maybe we’ll pick up instructions to one of those freaky-cool Contact machines out there?