US Scientists Urge to Seek Contact with Alien Life
Scientists at the SETI Institute have said at a conference in the US that it is time for us to start actively seeking contact with alien life.
The SETI, Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, has been in operation for more than 30 years, use radio telescopes to listen for signals from outer space. So far, there hasn’t been anything, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything there, according to the institute’s researchers.
And these researchers have now said they think we should make the first move – we should send messages out there, into the universe, for other potential lifeforms to listen to and respond.
Of course, radio signals bearing messages for aliens have been sent out into the cosmos before. For example, in 1974, the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico sent out an image of a DNA double helix and a picture of stick man to some stars 21,000 light years away.
Russian scientists also sent their own message out in 1999 from the Crimean Yevpatoria telescope. And in 2008, NASA beamed out the Beatles’ “Across the Universe” to the North Sea, which is 430-odd light years away.
But at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the conference held in San Jose in California, the scientists said that we should be considering what the message should be. And once the message has been devised, it should be repeatedly sent over the course of months or years to the same set of nearby stars.
“We should expand our strategies, so we are not only passively listening, but also transmitting intentional, information-rich signals,” explained Dr Douglas Vakoch, SETI Director of Interstellar Message Composition. “With recent detections of Earth-like planets in the habitable zones of other stars, we have natural targets for such transmission projects.”
Dr Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer and Director of the SETI Institute, said the sending out messages more often might elicit a response should there be anything out there to give one.
He said that there are some people who are against “shouting into the jungle”, not knowing what dangers may come of it. But he doesn’t think that it is likely that if there are alien lifeforms out there, that the intention would be to cause our planet harm.
“I don’t see why aliens would have the incentive to do that,” he pointed out. He added that with all the signals that have been leaking from the planet over the past 70 years, we have already been sending messages notifying anything out there of our existence. “Any society that could come here and ruin our whole day by incinerating the planet, already knows we’re here.”
Whether or not the signals will actually be sent out hasn’t been confirmed yet, but it is certainly something to think about.