Not so good news for UFO and ET fans – a team of researchers thermo-scanned more than 100,000 nearby galaxies and found absolutely no trace of intelligent alien life.
Although NASA scientists recently predicted that humanity will be able to detect alien civilizations across universe within a decade or so, the recent study conducted by a team of researchers from the Pennsylvania State University is not that encouraging. And independent experts claim that the study is one of the most exhaustive of its type by far.
Penn State scientists surveyed thousands of galaxies located nearby our Milky Way but they were able to find no sign that at least one of those galaxies may harbor advanced extraterrestrial life.
Dr. Jason T. Wright, the lead author of the study and astrophysics professor at the Penn State’s Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds, wrote in a study review that the surveyed galaxies were billions of years old so they had all time in the Universe to be filled with alien civilizations, if they did exist.
“Either they don’t exist, or they don’t yet use enough energy for us to recognize them,”
Prof. Wright concluded.
During their research, Dr. Wright and his team sifted through huge heaps of data gathered by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope in 2010. The team first selected 100,000 galaxies that looked most promising for hosting alien life out of nearly 100 million galaxies, and started scanning their emitted heat.
Prof. Wright argued that a galaxy which had been entirely colonized by a “spacefaring civilization” should emit tons of heat waves generated by the energy emitted by that civilization’s technology. That could be detected in mid-infrared wavelengths, which is the exact type of radiation NASA’s WISE satellite was built to detect.
But the theory that an advanced but remote alien civilization could be detected by its “waste heat” is not new. Prof. Freeman Dyson, a notable theoretical physicist, first wrote about the possibility in 1960.
However, Prof. Wright’s team is not discouraged. The scientists said that they would continue their hunt for alien life even though the start was not promising. The team published their findings Wednesday in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. They mentioned that the study was “just the beginning.”
Other experts also chose to not give up hope. Dr. Avi Loeb, an expert in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) and researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, believes that alien civilizations may use much less energy than Prof. Dyson calculated in the 1960s. So, they can be extremely hard to detect.
Dr. Loeb also said that the recent study had its limitations since it ruled out less visible civilizations. He also explained that our civilization processes a thousandth of a trillionth of the energy our sun produces. But less visible civilization might also exist despite their restricted energy needs and technological feasibility in harvesting that energy.
Dr. Jill Tarter, the former director of the SETI research center and the astronomer impersonated by Jodie Foster in the movie “Contact” (1997) encouraged astronomers to resume search and build sharper telescopes that could easily discern between signals emitted by “Mother Nature” and those produced by engineers.
Image Source: SciTech Daily