May 11, 2018 I Brett Tingley

Breakthrough Listen Launches Groundbreaking New Search for Alien Life

Despite the fact that scientists often dismiss claims that anomalous aerial phenomena on Earth might be alien visitors to our planet, there are currently many ongoing scientific initiatives to seek out alien life in our own galaxy. It’s like many skeptics perform odd mental gymnastics to dismiss UFO research but favor programs like SETI and Breakthrough Listen. They can’t possibly be real here, but maybe they are out there.

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Or maybe you're all just in my imagination and neither is true. Who knows?

While the stigma surrounding UFO and close encounter research isn’t likely to dissipate any time soon, some of the world’s top scientists are hard at work searching for signs of life in the Universe. One of the largest programs, Breakthrough Listen, is supported by Frank Drake and Stephen Hawking and seeks to listen in on one million nearby stars and the centers of 100 galaxies using the most sophisticated sensors and telescopes humanity possesses.

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A radio telescope at the Parkes Observatory.

Breakthrough Listen recently assembled new digital instrumentation capable of sorting through the unimaginable amounts of data collected by the multibeam receiver of the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia. The new multibeam receiver uses 13 separate beams to survey the entire section of the Galactic Plane visible from the site. Will this finally be the study that uncovers proof of extraterrestrial life?

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Let's just hope they come in peace.

Let’s hope so. Breakthrough Listen scientists are at least optimistic. In a press release announcing these new capabilities, Parkes project scientist Danny Price of the University of California, Berkeley says that scientists can now scan the cosmos with a new level of precision:

With these new capabilities we are scanning our galaxy in unprecedented detail. By trawling through these huge datasets for signatures of technological civilizations, we hope to uncover evidence that our planet, among the hundreds of billions in our galaxy, is not the only where intelligent life has arisen.

Sure, it’s just one study in a long line of studies with the same goal. But all it takes is one. One of these project will someday discover the first signs that we’re not alone out here. Will this be the one?

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician living in the ancient Appalachian mountains.

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