Is there extraterrestrial life there? Humanity has asked this question many times over the years. However, a recent study gave us some interesting results. A trio of researchers conducted the study in late 2020. They used the Murchison Widefield Array to search for areas of space up to seven hours away. The trio hoped to find evidence of life beyond our own world by searching for broadcast signals at high frequencies of up to 155 MHz.
This search for extraterrestrial life has yielded intriguing results
The network used to carry out the research is made up of 4,000 antennas in the Western Australian desert. The researchers listened for any kind of extraterrestrial “technosignatures” or any kind of signs of extraterrestrial life. Because the network can pick up low-frequency radio waves, they hoped it might give some kind of evidence for intelligent life on other worlds.
During the seven hours of listening, the band focused on the Galactic Center. The center has been a prime target for astronomers in the past because of all the stars it houses. More stars means more chances for worlds capable of life and intelligent creatures. However, after seven hours of listening to the Galactic Center, the researchers found absolutely nothing.
Continue the search
But that’s not the only search for extraterrestrial life they plan to do. A new search, which is the fourth they will have done, will search for low frequency signals in a new area of space. The new search area covers more than 3.3 million stars, all of which were part of the Galactic Nucleus Survey (GNS). While that may seem like a lot of stars, it’s actually less than one percent of the total array that the Murchison Widefield Array scanned in the new search.
The excavated areas are also filled with space dust and other debris from stars, comets, and other celestial entities. As such, it could obscure signals that the array might otherwise pick up. The researchers also say there is another possibility. If there is extraterrestrial life and intelligent creatures exist on other planets, they could be using different technology than ours. Thus, the signals they would broadcast would be different. This means that we might not be able to detect it easily or detect it at all.
It’s an interesting proposition and I’d be intrigued to see more feedback. Does extraterrestrial life really exist? I guess that’s just a question we’ll have to keep asking, at least for now. Full research results will be published in a future edition of Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia. A current preprint is available at arXiv.