The scientists’ project called “looking for ET” used the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope in the Western Australian outback–and the result, the Australian astronomers, found no technological signs of intelligent life in a distant constellation.
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During the observation, they used the MWA to look for powerful radio emissions at low frequencies, just like the FM radio frequencies on Earth used in radio broadcasting. The radio emissions called “technosignatures” are used to detect an intelligent aliens’ presence, who have technological innovations just like what humans have.
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The study is considered the “deepest and broadest search” of a space region with at least 10 million stars, located in the southern constellation of “Vela.”
Although they found no signs of out-of-this-world lifeforms, the astronomers claimed that they’d be hard to find if they exist.
“The MWA is a unique telescope, with an extraordinarily wide field-of-view that allows us to observe millions of stars simultaneously,” said Dr. Cheona Tremblay, an astronomer at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia.
“We observed the sky around the constellation of Vela for 17 hours, looking more than 100 times broader and deeper than ever before,” she added.
Tremblay also explained that their dataset found no technosignatures, which means there is no intelligent life sign. The researchers pointed out that they’ve only searched a comparatively tiny portion of outer space.
Steven Tingay, a professor from the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in Perth, said that in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams noted that “space is big, really big.”
Although the study is a big one, Dr. Trembaly said that the area of space the astronomers observed is just like looking for an object in the oceans, but only searching an amount of water, comparable to a large backyard swimming pool.
She added that although there is still much to learn in finding extraterrestrial life, new technologies such as the MWA telescope are continuously pushing the limits.
“We have to keep looking,” she said.
On the other hand, the team also studied the sky in a supernova remnant, located in Vela’s Southern constellation, where six known exoplanets are around. But, there are still many exoplanets in the system that scientists have not yet discovered.
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Written by: Giuliano de Leon.