Recent discoveries in space and Earth sciences have provided encouragement to searchers for distant civilisations
Is there anybody out there? For centuries human beings have wondered, although the ways in which we have gone about this have varied, encompassing spiritual and metaphysical questions as well as scientific ones. As we have gained greater understanding of the universe, however, our searches have taken on more concrete form. Questions about extraterrestrials have become a subject for science rather than science fiction and philosophy.
Now a new collaboration between the Very Large Array observatory in New Mexico and the privately funded Seti Institute in California, could mean that our curiosity about aliens is closer than ever before to being satisfied. Data from the VLA’s 28 giant radio telescopes, configured so as to scan a vast expanse of sky, will be fed through a special supercomputer that will search for distant signals. Scientists who work at the Seti Institute said the announcement means their research, for a long time confined to the eccentric margins of respectable science, are now “almost mainstream”.