A new scientific study has found potential evidence that has researchers believing we will be in contact with aliens by 2029.
Depictions of extraterrestrial encounters have always been confined to the realm of popular television shows like The X-Files and Roswell: New Mexico. But a recent study by Reilly Derrick and Howard Isaacson from the University of California’s Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses suggests that alien contact could be achieved as early as 2029.
Published in the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the researchers compiled a list of stars and planets that will likely encounter signals from Earth within the next century. By applying the laws of physics, scientists have calculated the travel time for signals transmitted from NASA’s Deep Space Network, resulting in several significant findings about alien contact.
The findings revealed that a radio transmission sent to Pioneer 10, a spacecraft that conducted a flyby of Jupiter in 1973, reached a dormant white dwarf star in 2002. Comparable transmissions were dispatched to Voyager 2 between 1980 and 1983 and later arrived at a brown dwarf star 24 light-years away in 2007.
If there is intelligent life in the vicinity of the star, aliens could potentially make contact with Earth in about six years, the findings said. Reilly Derrick, the study’s lead author, believes that the analysis provides Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) researchers with a more focused set of stars to target to achieve alien contact.
This updated list of stars can also help radio astronomers to tune their telescopes toward predetermined directions and times when scanning for alien contact signals. However, some scientists contend that it is time to ditch these grandiose ideas. “Our infrequent transmissions are unlikely to yield a detection of humanity by extraterrestrials,” radio astronomer Jean-Luc Margot told the media.
Others believe that alien contact is improbable as the likelihood of another civilization residing in the Milky Way is extraordinarily small. Still, scientists have spent decades employing various techniques and technologies to search for extraterrestrial life. One method involves scanning for radio signals from other civilizations, which is the core focus of the SETI program.
Another approach entails searching for biosignatures such as oxygen or methane in exoplanet atmospheres. Additionally, scientists study extremophiles, which are organisms capable of surviving in extreme conditions on Earth, to understand the potential for life to exist in harsh environments on other planets.
Despite the tremendous effort involved, attempts at alien contact have been an ongoing and complex endeavor fraught with several uncertainties. The biggest challenge is the vastness of space, which makes detecting alien contact signals from remote planets a daunting task. Another obstacle is the possibility of life existing in forms vastly different from what we are familiar with.
Still, the pursuit of extraterrestrial life remains a fascinating topic of great interest and importance. NASA recently called for a new framework to guide the search for extraterrestrial life, with a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and biosignatures. Books like Aliens: The World’s Leading Scientists on the Search for Extraterrestrial Life also offer a captivating look at the quest for alien contact.
But the search for extraterrestrial life has its pitfalls. Over the years, the biggest drawback for scientists has been cynical reactions from their peers and the public. For now, proof that the truth is out there remains uncertain.