Arizona State University's professor Paul Davies—a theoretical physicist and cosmologist now working on astrobiology—and Robert Wagner—Research Technician at the School of Earth & Space Exploration—have published a scientific paper calling for the search of alien artifacts on the Moon..
I know. I find this insanely awesome too. And it actually makes some sense.
They argue that, while the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence "has a low probability of success", the potential impact of finding proof requires to "widen the current search" as much as possible. Instead of just looking for radio messages, we should search for traces of alien explorers in the celestial bodies of our solar system. These are the highlights of their research paper:
• Alien civilizations may have sent probes to our region of the galaxy.
• Any mission to the solar system would probably have occurred a very long time ago. The lunar environment could preserve artifacts for millions of years.
• Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter provides a photographic database to search for artifacts.
• Searching the LRO database would make an excellent educational project.
Their first idea is to use photographs from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter—340,000 images now, one million in the future—for computer-based and crowd-sourced analysis that may identify potential alien structures, from machinery to debris. The cost is very low, they say, and there will be gains no matter what: either we find signs of aliens or people learn a lot about the Moon in the process. It's a win-win proposition.
Davies and Wagner believe that, if there's something, it will be perfectly preserved because there's very little activity on the lunar surface. They think that, if aliens actually were there, they may have left a "We were here" capsule on a place like the Tycho crater or perhaps in one of the many lava caves that populate our silver satellite. Just like space exploration experts believe humans should use these caves to set up outposts, Davies and Wagner believe that there's where the alien explorers may have installed their bases millions or thousands of years ago.
I'm game for this. My tinfoil hat is ready. [Acta Astronautica via The Guardian]