Deep dive for aliens: We’ve only examined a ‘hot tub’ worth of cosmic ocean

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Image credit: Dave Morrow
[A] new study suggests we haven’t exactly taken a deep dive when it comes to hunting for other-worldly life forms. In fact, a new study says we’ve really only examined a “hot tub” worth of our cosmic ocean.

[T]he researchers calculated the amount of space that our telescopes and other signal-detecting devices have analyzed so far. Building on [SETI researcher Jill] Tarter’s work, they added in new channels where might find alien signals and included data from more recent studies like the Breakthrough Listen Initiative, which is surveying the million stars closest to Earth and 100 nearest galaxies. They then compared all of that data with the amount of searching astronomers estimate humans need to do before before concluding there is intelligent life in the universe.

Related article:  Why Darwin's 'abominable mystery' may not be all that mysterious

Where Tarter found a glass of water, Wheeler and his co-authors found we’ve examined a cosmic Jacuzzi-worth of space.

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That’s because, as Tarter pointed out in a NASA speech on the subject last week, a new generation of telescopes going live soon will help us scan more of the sky more efficiently, and improved artificial intelligence will help us pinpoint just which cosmic hot tubs we should be looking in. In fact, earlier this year Tarter said she believed that humanity would find signs of extraterrestrial life by the end of the century.

Read full, original post: In the Search for Aliens, We’ve Only Analyzed a Small Pool in the Cosmic Ocean

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