Tag: biosignatures

A New Frontier in the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Article by Adam Frank                                       December 31, 2020                                        (washingtonpost.com)

• On December 18th, ‘Breakthrough Listen’ – a privately funded offshoot of SETI, the ‘Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence’ – detected a distant “candidate signal” labeled BLC-1, which SETI astronomers would like to think is coming from another intelligent civilization in the galaxy. Of course, these scientists are quick to point out that it is probably not coming from another civilization, but just radio interference from our own planet.

• The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence began more than 60 years ago. Proponents of SETI have long complained that there has never been sufficient funding or telescope time available to make a dent in the effort. In the 1980s and 1990s, Congressional legislators withheld “wasteful” SETI funding, and it has survived since on private funding from millionaires like Yuri Milner who in 2015 pledged $100 million to create Breakthrough Listen.

• Jason Wright and his astronomy colleagues at Penn State have argued that the reason we have not found life elsewhere in the universe is simple: We haven’t really looked. If the galaxy were an ocean, so far astronomers have splashed around in just one hot-tub’s worth of water.

• With Milner’s funding, the Breakthrough Listen project was provided access to telescopes from the Parkes radio dish in Australia and the Green Bank instrument in West Virginia, and resources to explore new search methods and technologies. These include machine-learning initiatives designed to accelerate “classic” SETI research. Artificial intelligence can enable computers to identify those all-important ‘weirdness needles’ in the cosmic signal haystack of data. The next generation of instruments, including the soon-to-be-launched James Webb Space Telescope, should enable SETI astronomers to explore the atmospheres of smaller, Earthlike planets and search for the chemical imprint of an exo-biosphere.

• Meanwhile, the ‘exoplanet revolution’ opened a second frontier in the search for ET. In the mid-1990s, astronomers found the first exoplanet, a Jupiter-size world on a four-day orbit around the star 51 Pegasi. Today, we know that almost every star in the sky hosts a family of worlds. Scientists worldwide are building a census of alien planets, showing which stars have planets and which planets are in the star’s “Goldilocks zone,” where surface temperatures are just right (that is, anywhere between freezing and boiling) for life to form. As a result, astronomers can find out exactly where they should be looking for life and intelligence.

• Astronomers are also gaining the capacity to probe the atmospheres of distant planets for ‘biosignatures’. By interrogating light passing through a far-flung world’s gaseous veil, astronomers can compile its chemical inventory and see what’s in the planet’s atmosphere. Alien astronomers looking at Earth, for example, would see oxygen and methane in our atmosphere — a signature of life’s presence on our planet. Scientists have already explored the atmospheres of a few Jupiter-size exoplanets.

• But why stop at biosignatures? The presence of technology on a planet might be far more detectable than biology. Telescopes on the drawing boards right now might have the capacity to see city lights on distant worlds. In 2019, NASA awarded the first-ever research grant to study atmospheric technosignatures, with two more funded in 2020. All this means that the search for technosignatures is becoming just as plausible and just as important as the search for biosignatures, representing a thrilling new face of SETI, embracing both anomaly-based searches and targeted explorations of exoplanets and their environments.

• The truth about the search for intelligent exo-civilizations is that it’s probably going to take a lot of time and effort. That’s the price you pay for great science. This extraordinary journey — taking us to the shores of alien worlds — is really only just getting started. Something remarkable is happening in the science of life and intelligence beyond Earth. The age of “technosignatures” is dawning.

[Editor’s Note]  The boys at SETI are dedicated… dedicated, that is, to making sure that the average person remains woefully ignorant of the multitude of intelligent beings and civilizations that permeate our galaxy and universe. Seth Shostak and his accomplices at SETI are simply shills for the deep state. The deep state controls several secret space programs that interact constantly with mostly negative extraterrestrial beings, and have access to their advanced technologies which the deep state wants to maintain for themselves only, in order to preserve their advantage.

But it appears that 2021 will usher in a new level of disclosure of this underlying deep state cabal that has repressed the natural technological and spiritual development of the human species on this Earth since World War II, when the presence of extraterrestrial beings, both benevolent and malevolent, greatly increased in response to our species’ own technological achievements. Suddenly, Earth humans were a more interesting species to scrutinize, and more valuable to exploit. By using human (?) deep state operatives to infiltrate all aspects of government and society, these negative beings orchestrated a false reality which has supported their control agenda for the past seventy years.

We have a unique opportunity now to expose this deep state cabal and the negative extraterrestrial entities that have given this cabal its capacity to control the planet. The time has come to reclaim the planet for our own species, as the benevolent beings and our human cousins of the Galactic Federation have urged us to do. They won’t step in and do it for us. We must save ourselves. It appears that President Trump has declared war on the deep state, and this much anticipated transition has begun.

We are living in the most fantastic period in human history. It is just a shame that more people have not yet awakened to recognize the battle between good and evil that is now unfolding. Once we have overcome our deep state oppressors, the human species will enter a golden age of higher spiritual consciousness and advanced technologies (available to everyone) that will transform our planet as we assume our rightful place among the multitude of space-faring civilizations which deep state operatives, such as SETI and the Washington Post, are desperately trying to prevent.

 

On Dec. 18, the world learned that Breakthrough Listen, a privately funded search for extraterrestrial

                        Jason Wright

intelligence, had found its first official candidate signal. The signal’s existence lit up the Internet. Was BLC-1, as it’s called, finally our moment of contact? Breakthrough Listen scientists, now hard at work on a paper about their findings, were quick to explain that the answer was probably “no”: Given the wealth of human-made radio signal interference out there, BLC-1 will probably turn out to be of human origin.

Their preliminary conclusion, however, does not defuse the excitement of BLC-1. The fact that there’s a candidate at all is cause for celebration. That’s because something remarkable is happening in the science of life and intelligence beyond Earth. The age of “technosignatures” is dawning.

                             Yuri Milner

Many people have the romantic notion that astronomers huddle over their telescopes every night and scan the skies looking for signals from distant, alien civilizations. That, unfortunately, just ain’t happening. Though the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) began more than 60 years ago, there was never sufficient funding or telescope time available to make a dent in the effort. In the 1980s and 1990s, some in Congress cited public SETI funding (as little as it was) as a press-worthy example of wasteful spending. Government support mostly dried up, leaving the field running on fumes. As Jason Wright and colleagues at Penn State have demonstrated, if the sky is an ocean that needs to be searched for life, so far astronomers have splashed around in just one hot-tub’s worth of water. The reason we have not found life elsewhere in the universe is simple: We haven’t really looked.

Now, however, the long desert of opportunity may finally be giving way to a new era of growth. In 2015, Internet billionaire Yuri Milner pledged $100 million to create Breakthrough Listen, a next-generation radio-based search for extraterrestrial intelligence. With a single stroke, Milner helped rejuvenate the field: The project provided access to telescopes from the Parkes radio dish in Australia and the Green Bank instrument in West Virginia, and provided resources to explore new search methods and technologies. These include machine-learning initiatives designed to accelerate “classic” SETI research of the kind epitomized by BLC-1. As pioneered by Frank Drake and others (and popularized by the 1997 movie “Contact”), classic SETI searches for signals that are anomalous, as opposed to those originating from natural or human causes. Historically, the challenge has been that SETI observations produce tidal waves of data. But artificial intelligence can enable computers to identify those all-important weirdness needles in the cosmic signal haystack of all that data.

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Aliens ‘May Have Already Spotted Us!’ Astronomers Announce

Article by Sebastian Kettely                                  October 23, 2020                               (express.co.uk)

• A pair of astronomers associated with the Carl Sagan Institute have published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society a radical proposition that if we have the means to examine distant exoplanets looking for biosignatures that indicate a presence of life, then possible alien civilizations on those distant worlds could have the means to see us too! Indeed, we may have already been spotted!

• Since the first exoplanet was discovered in 1992, astronomers have learned there are more planets out there than the stars dotting our night skies. Missions like NASA’s Kepler and TESS have uncovered thousands of these worlds in hopes we can catch a glimpse of their make up for possible biosignatures, all within the so-called habitable zone where conditions may allow liquid water to exist. These starts containing potentially habitable exoplanets are all found within 300 light-years of Earth, meaning they are close enough for us to scan their potential planets. Conversely, planets within this catalog will also have a direct line of sight to Earth, which implies aliens could be scanning our world for signs of life as well.

• Lisa Kaltenegger, an associate professor at Cornell University and a co-author of the paper, says, “Let’s reverse the viewpoint to that of other stars and ask from which vantage point other observers could find Earth as a transiting planet.” Transiting planets are worlds that pass in front of a star, through the observer’s line of sight. Space telescopes like NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) can see these transits by detecting the dips in brightness they cause. “If observers were out there searching, they would be able to see signs of a biosphere in the atmosphere of our Pale Blue Dot,” referring to Earth.

• “In our search for life in the Universe, we ask a little bit of a different question in this research,” says Kaltenegger. “We ask who could have actually spotted us? Who could have found out that Earth is teeming with life from their vantage point?: They would know that we have liquid water, and the potential for life. “What would they think?”

[Editor’s Note]   Speculation that another civilization on a distant exoplanet may be at the exact state of technology as we are, and could therefore detect on our Earth what we are able to detect (or not detect) about their planet, passes for ‘science’ these days. Brilliant. It is nothing more than another deep state exercise in futility and a waste of time. These type of SETI studies are only funded so that they can release ‘scientific papers’ to reassure the mind-numbed public that smart people at top universities are studying the extraterrestrial/ UFO subject, but darn it, they just haven’t been able to find any intelligent extraterrestrials out there. (I think the Cornell University’s “Carl Sagan Institute” was a dead give-away. Sagan has been revealed to have been a major deep state disinformation agent during his career.)

 

Scientists hunting for signs of alien life have concentrated on our nearest corner of space, such as Mars and Venus, and planets orbiting stars far beyond our reach. Since the first exoplanet discovery in 1992, astronomers have learned there are more planets out there than the stars dotting our night skies. Missions like NASA’s Kepler and TESS have uncovered thousands of these worlds in hopes we can catch a glimpse of their make up for possible biosignatures – chemistry that could be created by life on the surface.

         Lisa Kaltenegger
      deep state scientist

Now, a pair of astronomers in the US has proposed that if we have the means to see these worlds, potential alien civilisations could have the means to see us.

And if advanced life exists somewhere out there among the stars, chances are we may have already been spotted.

Lisa Kaltenegger, an associate professor and director of Cornell University’s Carl Sagan Insitute, and Joshua Pepper, associate professor of physics at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, have identified 1,004 close stars similar to our Sun.

These stars might be orbited by Earth-like planets within the so-called habitable zone where conditions are ripe for liquid water to exists on the surface.

All of these stars are found within 300 light-years of Earth, meaning they are close enough for us to scan their potential planets for biosignatures.

Planets within this catalogue will also have a direct line of sight to Earth, which implies aliens could be scanning our world for signs of life as well.

Professor Kaltenegger said: “Let’s reverse the viewpoint to that of other stars and ask from which vantage point other observers could find Earth as a transiting planet.”

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UK Scientists in Bid to Find Building Blocks of Alien Life on Exoplanets

Article by Sebastian Kettley                                   September 22, 2020                                 (express.co.uk)

• Astronomers at the University of Warwick (Coventry/West Midlands, England) have been searching for a more efficient way to measure water vapor on distant gas giant planets when our best telescopes cannot penetrate through the exoplanet’s cloud covering. According to the science paper offered by the University’s Department of Physics, high-resolution spectroscopy technology could be the ticket. Says lead author of the paper, Dr Siddharth Gandhi, “Ground-based high-resolution spectroscopy as well as the next generation of space telescopes will be able to detect these trace species on cloudy planets, offering exciting potential for biosignatures in the future.”

• The hunt for alien life is extremely limited due to the vast distances between planets and the technology currently at our disposal. Rover on nearby rocky planets like Mars take many months looking for signs of life, with no guarantee that they can even detect such life using the technology that they carry with them. We can see light bouncing off of a far more distant exoplanet’s atmosphere, but too often clouds will prevent a light spectrum from penetrating closer to the surface.

• The Warwick scientists’ paper describes a novel way of examining exoplanet atmospheres for water vapor, ammonia, methane, and other chemicals that could be an indicator of life. High-resolution spectroscopy is a potential way of doing that, even where there is a cloudy atmosphere. “The chemical abundances can tell you quite a lot about how the planet may have formed because it leaves its chemical fingerprint on the molecules in the atmosphere,” says Dr Gandhi. As the light skims the top of the atmosphere, its spectrum is shifted and specific wavelengths of light can then be matched to specific chemicals in the air. “Detecting the molecules at the top of the atmosphere… offers a window into the internal structure as the gases mix with the deeper layers.”

• So far, most observations of exoplanets have been carried out using space telescopes like NASA’s Hubble or Spitzer. “Quite a lot of these cooler planets are far too cloudy to get any meaningful constraints with the current generation of space telescopes,” says Dr Gandhi. “But all of this could change if the proposed technology takes off.”

 

ASTRONOMERS at the University of Warwick have proposed a cutting-edge technique that could detect water on distant exoplanets, boosting the search for alien life.

The hunt for alien life is very limited due to the vast distances between planets and the technology currently at our disposal. Although scientists can send probes and rovers like NASA’s Perseverance Rover to nearby worlds like Mars, these missions take many months before their targets are reached. And even once these missions reach their destinations, there is no guarantee they are well equipped or sophisticated enough to find any signs of extraterrestrial life.

Matters are further complicated when astronomers study distant exoplanets far beyond our reach.

Often times we can catch a glimpse of these planets’ atmosphere by the light bouncing off them, but we cannot see much further than that.

And if dense clouds are in the way, preventing light from penetrating, the planets’ secrets could be forever hidden from sight.

But researchers at the University of Warwick have now proposed high-resolution spectroscopy technology could potentially detect traces of water well above these impenetrable clouds.

The technique, presented in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, could offer a major boost in the hunt for alien life beyond Earth.

Life as we know it requires water to exist as it is one of the building blocks of life alongside carbon-based molecules and energy.

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