Astronomers used the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope to look into the cosmos’ dark forest, examining over 10 million stars. The aim was to explore several times more broadly than any previous search for extraterrestrial life.
They were searching for the signs of powerful radio emissions called technosignatures- that could indicate an intelligent source. But they did not found any evidence of alien technologies.
The study observed the sky around the Vela constellation. But in this part of the universe, it appears that other civilizations are elusive if they exist.
CSIRO astronomer Dr. Chenoa Tremblay said, “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 Vela’s constellation for 17 hours, looking more than 100 times broader and deeper than ever before. With this dataset, we found no technosignatures—no sign of intelligent life.”
Professor Steven Tingay, from the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), said, “even though this was the broadest search yet, I was not shocked by the result.”
“As Douglas Adams noted in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, ‘space is big, really big.’ And even though this was a massive 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.”
“Since we can’t assume how possible alien civilizations might utilize technology, we need to search in many different ways. Using radio telescopes, we can explore an eight-dimensional search space.”
“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.”
- C. D. Tremblay et al. A SETI survey of the Vela region using the Murchison Widefield Array: Orders of magnitude expansion in search space. DOI: 10.1017/pasa.2020.27