For the first time in more than 30 years, NASA has decided to fund a project to search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). The grant allocated by the agency will also cover an original area of research that no one has previously been interested in. Usually, extraterrestrial intelligence was sought either in radio signals, or (with the advent of space telescopes) by the presence of oxygen or methane in the atmosphere of exoplanets. NASA suggests looking for “techno-signatures” – unusual gases or spectral dips.
It’s no secret that at night it is best to look for lost keys under a lamppost – it’s light there. NASA decided to do the same. How to search for aliens? We will look for people like us – who have polluted the atmosphere with gases that are not found in the natural environment, and by dips in the spectral reflection of light from distant stars from regions with exoplanets.
According to NASA experts, these are the two most promising “technical signatures” that researchers who are interested in financing SETI projects under the auspices of the agency should pay attention to. The “unnatural” gas, for example, may be chlorofluorocarbon, which was recently used as a refrigerant and aerosol until it was discovered that it depletes the ozone layer. An obvious sign of technological civilization is the production in commodity quantities of substances that violate the planetary ecosystem.
As for solar panels, in the process they absorb one spectrum and reflect another. The characteristic dips in the spectrum of radiation reflected from areas with exoplanets and the unusual amplification of other sites can lead to suspicions of the existence of intelligent life there. All this is far-fetched, but does not negate the fact that looking for extraterrestrial life is interesting and fascinating.
If you notice an error, select it with the mouse and press CTRL + ENTER.