Scientists plan to send signals to distant planets that may be inhabited by aliens by late 2018, rather than waiting for them to contact Earth.
Dubbed Messaging Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (METI), the project aims to send conversation-starters via radio or laser signals to a rocky planet dubbed the “Second Earth,” which is circling Proxima Centauri. Proxima Centauri is the nearest star to Earth other than the sun. METI will then send messages to more distant destinations hundreds or thousands of light years away.
“If we want to start an exchange over the course of many generations, we want to learn and share information,” Douglas Vakoch, president of METI, said in a press statement
Numerous scientists are not pleased with METI however, as the project would reveal Earth’s location to any potentially hostile aliens.
“We have almost zero idea of whether aliens are likely to be dangerous,” Dr. Mark Buchanan, a physicist, wrote in journal Nature Physics. Other scientists concur that telling aliens about ourselves could be very risk.
“Meeting an advanced civilization could be like Native Americans encountering Columbus,” Dr. Stephen Hawking, a famous theoretical physicist, said about the subject. That didn’t turn out so well.”
Researchers estimate that the odds of humanity being the only civilization in the universe are less than one chance in about “10 billion trillion.”
“One in 10 billion trillion is incredibly small. To me, this implies that other intelligent, technology producing species very likely have evolved before us,” Dr. Adam Frank, the study’s lead author and an astronomy professor at the University of Rochester, said in a press statement. “Think of it this way. Before our result, you’d be considered a pessimist if you imagined the probability of evolving a civilization on a habitable planet were, say, one in a trillion. But even that guess, one chance in a trillion, implies that what has happened here on Earth with humanity has in fact happened about 10 billion other times over cosmic history.”
The study used a simplified version of the famous Drake Equation, and concluded that the number of advanced alien civilizations in the universe is equal to the number of habitable planets multiplied by the likelihood of a technological species developing on one of these planets.
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