For more than four decades, scientists have been on a mission to find techno-signatures – signals coming from distant alien civilizations. Despite the search, no convincing evidence has been found for biology beyond Earth. But, considering the vastness of the universe, it is estimated that our galaxy, the Milky Way, which contains about 400 billion stars, is likely to have life beyond our planet.
The Fermi paradox remains unresolved, which states that if intelligent extraterrestrial life exists, then why haven’t we seen any evidence of it? Some scientists have attempted to estimate the number of technologically advanced species in the universe through the Drake Equation, which has seven terms that need to be answered to get an estimate. While this equation has been useful, a slightly different approach has been suggested by Adam Frank from the University of Rochester. Rather than estimating how many civilizations are out there to communicate with today, they estimate how many civilizations have been out there since the beginning of the universe.
The first term of the Drake Equation is the rate of star formation, which we now know is about one star forming per year. The next two terms we’ve recently nailed down are the fraction of stars that have planets and the number of habitable zone planets – planets in the right place for life to form. For every five stars, one of them has a planet in the right place for life to form.
While we have made a lot of progress in the last 20 years, the question remains, where are the aliens? The answer to this question could lie in the search for technological signatures of other civilizations. Several international scientific projects are devoted to searching for evidence of life beyond Earth, from biomolecular detection to exoplanet atmospheres and biomarker detection.
In 2017, an object hurtled through the solar system. Although most astronomers believe it was a natural phenomenon, some believe it was the result of advanced technology developed by an alien civilization. NASA has funded a mission concept known as the Extrasolar object Interceptor.
The search for alien life has progressed a long way. According to a study published in the planetary science journal Planetary Science Journal earlier this month, NASA’s James Webb telescope can detect consistent passive technosigns. One of the most common characteristics of industry on Earth is atmospheric pollution. If this type of pollution is found in an exoplanet’s atmosphere, it could provide evidence of alien technology.
Watch Where Are The Aliens? The Search For Extraterrestrial Life from Science Time
Civilizations need only be older than ours to have technology that we are incapable of understanding. If we were to meet life from a planet that had no contact with Earth, it would likely be shocking to us. Other planets have different histories of cooking their soup of chemicals and making life out of it. Most stars are different than the sun, which may explain why interstellar tourist agencies never advertise Earth as a desired tourist destination, as all we can offer them is green grass vacation sites illuminated by visible light.
In conclusion, the search for aliens has been ongoing for several decades, and we have made significant progress in our understanding of the universe. The quest to find intelligent extraterrestrial life may still be ongoing, but we continue to make discoveries that bring us closer to the answer.
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