Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/12/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Three surprising ways we could detect alien life within the next two decades.

There are three ways we could likely discover extraterrestrial intelligence on other planets within the next two decades. As scientists pioneer new technologies that will help us peer into space with better resolution than ever before, a confluence of technologies and techniques will soon permit a detailed survey of the worlds around many nearby stars.

We are now more likely to discover alien life within the next two decades than not.

We are now more likely to discover alien life within the next two decades than not.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/12/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: contact, alien, life, et, extraterrestrial, space, exploration, UFO


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Ever since we started to appreciate the awesome scale of our galaxy and the universe around us, we have pondered the question "are we alone in the universe?" From a scientific perspective, the answer so far is yes, we are alone. There is simply no scientific evidence to show that life exists anywhere expect on Earth, and especially no evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence.

No, UFOs don't count.

Of course, this doesn't mean we shouldn't look for it. It's possible the stars could be teeming with life and we simply cannot yet detect it, no more than natives in the forests, communicating by drum, can detect the wireless signals that permeate the air.

St. Dominic, the patron saint of astronomers. The gold on this medal was forged inside a supernova.

Whether or not life exists, whether it is common or rare, will help us to answer fundamental questions about ourselves and how we should be as a civilization that seeks to expand and perpetuate itself into eternity.

So, the first step is to survey the universe and see what's out there.

This epic survey begins this year with the European Space Agency's Gaia mission. The Gaia satellite is designed to monitor and map the position and motion of up to a billion stars around our solar system, and it can do so with incredible precision. With this map, astronomers will know precisely where to look for life. Notably, this map will include a billion stars, a mere 1 percent of all the stars believed to be in the Milky Way galaxy. 

The first possibility of discovering life outside our solar system may come from optical astronomy as more powerful space telescopes, such as the James Webb Space Telescope, are deployed. Combined with constantly improving technology on the ground, this telescope and others will be able to analyze the atmospheres of individual planets orbiting around distant stars.

From this analysis, astronomers can tell what is in the atmospheres of these planets. They can look for organic molecules, complex molecules, and signs of pollution.  These are called "biomarkers" and the existence of any unnatural compound in a planet's atmosphere will strongly suggest that something is on the planet generating it, perhaps even something intelligent.

The second possibility is via radio astronomy. The SETI (Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence) project has been at work for decades, monitoring the heavens for patterned radio signals that could only be produced by intelligent life. Those signals may, or may not be aimed at Earth directly, but any interception, even if incidental or brief, could be evidence that such an intelligence exists.

Incidentally, a suspect signal was intercepted in 1977. For several seconds, a powerful signal was detected, but the telescope dropped the signal as the Earth rotated away from the source. When scientists finally managed to turn their radio telescopes back to the source, the signal was gone. A researcher circled the data on a printout and wrote "wow!" next to it, thus dubbing the signal.

The signal could not be traced to any known origin. However, since then, nothing like it has been encountered. Most scientists conclude it originated from outside our solar system, but they cannot vouch for what might have caused it. It could have been the result of a natural phenomenon, but if so, then why haven't we intercepted other such signals?

New efforts in radio astronomy will be more focused, rather than scanning the sky on a single channel and hoping to get lucky. Soon, millions of channels will be monitored and those surveys will pinpoint possible sources around nearby stars. If anybody out there is broadcasting into space, we're likely to find it.

The third and final way we could contact an extraterrestrial intelligence is perhaps the most terrifying -they could simply contact us, and we might not be that hard to find.

Earth has been emitting radio waves for more than a century. Those waves have already reached most of the stars we can see in the night sky with the naked eye, and they will continue propagating into space forever, although they will naturally weaken as they go.

The point is, any intelligent civilization within 110 light years of Earth and the right technology, could detect these signals and decode them. They could serve as a homing beacon, drawing spacefarers towards Earth.

The question that follows is if they will be friendly. Despite our hopes, the likely answer is no. Famed physicist and astronomer Stephen Hawking compared the possible meeting between our civilization and another to the collision of societies during the European conquest of the Americas during the 15th century and after. That did not end well for the native people.

Likewise, an alien civilization that finds Earth might be friendly at first, just as explorers were at first contact, but come later en masse, intent upon colonization and the plunder of resources.

Of course, if aliens do come to blast us to molecules with ray guns, can we really blame them when we broadcast the Kardashians into space?

If there's a better argument for decent television than that, I haven't heard it. Then again, maybe it will keep them away?

We should know before too long.

Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Technology

Flickr's auto-tagging feature creates racist and discriminating stirs Watch

Image of Instead of tagging a photo of a woman wearing a white mask as

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pictures are known to capture people's lives, nature and other events in history. This is the reason why Flickr, Yahoo's photo sharing / social networking site has become so popular amongst those who are found of taking snap shots of everything and anything ... continue reading


3 things Christians must refrain from posting about on Facebook Watch

Image of Be careful what you post on your Facebook.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christians are becoming more and more active in the use of technology, as well as within participation on social media. While it is obvious that the trend of social networking has its scary downsides, it is also serving as one of the most popular platform to share ... continue reading


Feeling ill? Wi-Fi may be to blame for mysterious illnesses Watch

Image of Wi-fi sensitivity may be a real illness caused by wireless networks.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Do you use Wi-Fi on a regular basis? If you're using any sort of modern technology, that answer is yes, and while it certainly makes daily life easier, there may be a hidden danger. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Suzanne Hoyt, during an interview ... continue reading


Warning: Porn will currently not be blocked from Oculus' headset Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Rift, Virtual Reality (VR) headset from Facebook-owned Oculus, is an open platform that owners can manipulate and use for whatever software they want, according to Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - As of the moment, there ... continue reading


A new danger in the skies? Hacker takes control of airplane's engine mid-flight Watch

Image of A cyber security expert is being investigated by the F.B.I. because of a hacking incident which occurred in April, where an airplane's engines were hacked in flight.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new document filed in U.S. federal court reveals that an airplane's engines were hacked mid-flight by a well known American hacker, using of all things, its inflight entertainment system. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Chris Roberts, a cyber security ... continue reading


Technology takes us one step closer to immortality Watch

Image of In the future, a person may be able to store their brain on a hard drive so they can seemingly live forever.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Through modern technology, it is now possible to upload a brain to a computer. Martine Rothblatt and Ray Kurweil believe that human beings can actually live forever through the utilization of technological advancements. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Are you sure they are safe? Google's self-driving cars to hit the road this summer - to expected indifference Watch

Image of Google's self-driving cars, a squat two-seater is intended to shepherd fleets of vehicles that can drive with no need for human intervention.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Google is set to unveil and sent out on to Northern Californian driveways their self-driving cars. While sounding fun and futuristic, the cars - dubbed by some as "clown cars" or "koala cars," are expected to met with mass indifference. Only 25 of the said ... continue reading


Why didn't Dell or HP do this? $9 computer raises $1 million on Kickstarter Watch

Image of Always with a keen eye on miniaturization, both in size and price, the computer world is looking towards CHIP with abiding interest.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

All it costs is $9, and it plugs into existing desktop setups. Called the CHIP, the tiny computer that could has raised more than $1 million in just five short days on Kickstarter. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 2.5-inch motherboard costs about the same ... continue reading


Internet domain names to be privatized by year's end Watch

Image of Fadi Chehade, the head of the nonprofit group expressed confidence that it would be privatized and out of U.S. government control by year's end.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With concerns over privacy and interference in everyday lives, at least one thing is escaping the control of the United States government -- Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN will be free of U.S. government oversight by the end of ... continue reading


Will Google's army of evil robots arise to subjugate, destroy all of humanity? Watch

Image of While both Google cofounder Larry Page and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk enjoy a warm relationship, Musk has expressed his concerns that Page might just lead to the destruction of humanity, as we know it.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While both Google co-founder Larry Page and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk enjoy a warm relationship, Musk has expressed his concerns that Page might just lead to the destruction of humanity, as we know it. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "I'm really worried ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Sirach 17:19-27
19 Their actions are all as plain as the sun to him, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 32:1-2, 5, 6, 7
1 [Of David Poem] How blessed are those whose offence ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 10:17-27
17 He was setting out on a journey when a man ran up, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 25th, 2015 Image

St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi
May 25: It would be easy to concentrate on the mystical experiences God ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter