NASA proposes playbook for communicating the discovery of alien life

Imagine you’re the very first scientist to discover aliens. Maybe it’s a clear message picked up by a radio telescope or life swimming through the ocean below Europa’s icy crust, or perhaps it’s signs of microbes wriggling in harsh Martian lakes or microscopic fossils in a meteorite. But how do you go about telling the … Continue reading NASA proposes playbook for communicating the discovery of alien life

Could black holes power alien civilisations?

For centuries, humans have gazed up and wondered if we are alone in the universe. In 1960, physicist Freeman Dyson changed the conversation by suggesting some cool celestial tech that would allow us to more easily detect signs of alien civilisations. Dyson suggested that if an alien society’s energy needs outstripped the supply of its … Continue reading Could black holes power alien civilisations?

Which alien stars can see Earth?

US astronomers have identified over a thousand nearby star systems that would have been in the right position to view Earth – only visible to them as it passes in front of our Sun – over the past 5,000 years. All of the stars are within 100 parsecs (or 326 light years) of us. Human-made … Continue reading Which alien stars can see Earth?

Is anybody down there?

The question of whether or not we are alone in the Universe has always fascinated me, but when I was a student the idea of searching for aliens was regarded as decidedly crackpot. One might as well have professed an interest in looking for fairies. The prevailing scientific opinion in the 1970s was well captured … Continue reading Is anybody down there?

Breakthrough Listen’s search for alien life

It’s a question that has puzzled us for millennia: are we alone in the universe? To find out, the University of California, Berkley and Breakthrough Initiatives, an organisation established to fund the search for alien life, will use radio telescopes to “listen” for signals of an alien civilisation in the Breakthrough Listen project. {%recommended 1596%} … Continue reading Breakthrough Listen’s search for alien life