Some SETI researchers believe the best way to detect aliens is to search the skies for their laser beams. In the largest survey of its kind, astronomers scanned 5,600 stars in search of these optical signals—and they found...absolutely nothing. Nada. Zilch. Here’s what that means to SETI and the ongoing hunt for alien…
Since their discovery ten years ago, fast radio bursts have confounded astronomers. These intergalactic pulses of radio energy have defied explanation, but a new theory suggests a technological origin, whereby aliens use these beams to propel their ships through space. Extremely speculative stuff, to be sure, but it’s…
Yesterday, news made the rounds that a team of Russian astronomers had detected an unusually strong signal emanating from a nearby sunlike star—a possible indication of an alien civilization. Here’s what the detection of this signal really means, and why it’s probably not ET.
Astronomers using the RATAN-600 radio telescope in the Russian Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia have detected an unusual signal emanating from a star located about 94 light-years from Earth. It’s not clear if the signal is being transmitted by aliens, but the researchers say we should keep a close watch on this…
Jupiter is often referred to as a “failed star,” leading some futurists to wonder if our descendants might set it ablaze in a process called planetary stellification. A new study suggests this is indeed theoretically possible—and that we should be on the hunt for galactic aliens who have already converted their gas…
The disturbing Fermi Paradox suggests we should have made contact with an extraterrestrial civilization by now, yet we haven’t. By applying a 500-year-old philosophical principle, a Cornell University researcher has shown that the Great Silence is not unexpected—we just need to give it more time.
Russian billionaire Yuri Milner has announced a new initiative called Breakthrough Listen, a 10-year project that will search for radio and light signals emitted by extraterrestrials. At a cost of $100 million, it’s the largest sum of money ever allocated to the effort.
The Great Silence is a vexing problem we all love to speculate and argue about, but it’s not the most intuitive concept. This wonderful animated video by Kurz Gesagt explains the problem that is the Fermi Paradox and why our apparent isolation in the galaxy is so damned weird.
A pioneering infrared scan of 100,000 galaxies by Penn State astronomers has failed to detect any signs of galaxy-spanning extraterrestrial supercivilizations. This result, though very preliminary, may be a sign that aliens aren't capable of conquering entire galaxies.
This coming weekend at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, experts will be discussing the potential benefits and risks of a SETI scheme in which messages about Earth — including the entire contents of Wikipedia — would be transmitted to hundreds of star systems.
It's hard to assess the sustainability of our civilization when climate scientists and ecologists have nothing to compare ourselves to. Which is why we need to learn from the success — and potential failures — of distant alien civilizations.
We have yet to discover any signs of aliens, a troubling observation that has led to much speculation. One possible solution to the Great Silence is that nobody's out there. It's a conclusion that sounds impossible to believe, but there may be something to it. Here's why we may be alone in the universe.
Jill Tarter, who inspired the main character in Carl Sagan's Contact, has been searching for extraterrestrial intelligence for close to 40 years. Here, in a brief but compelling video, she explains why she and so many others are driven to look for alien life.
We have yet to discover any signs of an extraterrestrial civilization — a prospect that could quite literally change overnight. Should that happen, our sense of ourselves and our place in the cosmos would forever be shaken. It could even change the course of human history. Or would it?
We have yet to make contact with an extraterrestrial intelligence, making it exceedingly difficult for us to imagine what an alien civilization might be like. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make some educated guesses. Here’s what we know — and don’t know — about aliens.
SETI now has the technology to go snooping for extraterrestrials in our own backyard. No, not as close as little green men cutting up crop circles. Rather, we should be able to detect an alien device positioned somewhere between the sun to 30 times farther out than Pluto.
Geoff Marcy has spent the better part of his career peering into the depths of space in the search for exoplanets and brown dwarfs. His pioneering work has resulted in the discovery of over 110 planets outside of our own solar system - including the first system of planets orbiting a distant star. But now, Marcy has…
The tough thing about translation: You need someone who actually speaks both languages. Easy for Spanish to English, not so much for Swahili to Inuktitut. In the Plex by Steven Levy illustrates how Google's machine translations will revolutionize human communication.
Our probes and landers still look for life "as we know it." But we're already aware that even terrestrial life goes beyond what we once considered possible. We should use that experience, or we may literally step on alien life.