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Scientists Discover No Sign Of Alien Life In Study Of 10 Million Star Systems

by : Emily Brown on : 09 Sep 2020 12:36
Scientists Discover No Sign Of Alien Life In Study Of 10 Million Star SystemsScientists Discover No Sign Of Alien Life In Study Of 10 Million Star SystemsShutterstock/20th Century Television

With the universe being so mind-blowingly vast, it’s not that far-fetched to assume there are other beings out there somewhere. But in a study of 10 million star systems, scientists have found no signs of alien life.

Researchers based in Perth, Australia, conducted the study dubbed ‘looking for ET’ using the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope, in the Western Australian outback.

The team zeroed in on a patch of sky in a supernova remnant in the southern constellation of Vela, which is known to include at least 10 million stars and six known exoplanets. The study marked the ‘deepest and broadest search’ undertaken in the area.

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Using the MWA, the team searched for ‘technosignatures’ – powerful radio emissions at low frequencies, similar to FM radio frequencies. These emissions could indicate that another species is out there with technology similar to our own.

Scientists used the MWA in the frequency range 98-128 MHz to observe the Vela Supernova Remnant with a frequency resolution of 10 kHz.

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In a press release, Dr Chenoa Tremblay, from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia, commented:

The MWA is a unique telescope, with an extraordinarily wide field-of-view that allows us to observe millions of stars simultaneously.

We observed the sky around the constellation of Vela for 17 hours, looking more than 100 times broader and deeper than ever before.

In spite of their efforts, the researchers drew a blank, finding ‘no technosignatures – no sign of intelligent life’ in their dataset.

The team, who published their findings in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, concluded that other civilisations are ‘elusive, if they exist’ at all in this part of the universe. Believers shouldn’t give up hope just yet, however, as there’s a lot more universe out there.

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Professor Steven Tingay, from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in Perth, quoted Douglas Adams in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy as he commented: ‘Space is big, really big’.

He continued:

Even though this was a really big study, the amount of space we looked at was the equivalent of trying to find something in the Earth’s oceans but only searching a volume of water equivalent to a large backyard swimming pool.

Although there is a long way to go in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, telescopes such as the MWA will continue to push the limits – we have to keep looking.

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Together with two previous surveys, the researchers have now examined 75 known exoplanets at low frequencies without finding a trace of civilisations.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Science, Aliens, Astronomy, Extraterrestrial, Space, universe

Credits

Curtin University
  1. Curtin University

    Australian telescope finds no signs of alien technology in 10 million star systems