The premise of film ET and the extraterrestrial is not about to be realized, since the most advanced researches to date have not been able to detect signals associated with the presence of an intelligent life around the neighboring stars of our solar system.
Our Sun is one of the hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way, one of the billions of galaxies that make up our ever-expanding Universe.
It is in this perpetual whirlwind that we find Homo sapiens who have been living on the Earth for 300,000 years, a tiny blue planet orbiting a star among many others. Ever since, humans have been wondering about the immensity of the sky.
What if other intelligent creatures existed in this vast cosmos? Our imagination has created representations in both literature and cinema, but the reality is more down to earth.
Not in our system
In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that little green men will not come from Mars. Perhaps not even in our solar system, where astrophysicists focus their research on finding simpler life forms, such as microorganisms.
But Homos sapiens do not give up the idea of finding celestial companions.
To discover an advanced civilization, humans are looking ever further in the universe, thanks to ever more sophisticated tools.
To date, they have found more than 4000 planets around other stars than the Sun. Of this number, about twenty of them are at a distance from their star that could allow the presence of a form of life .
Humans are also probing the cosmos for radio signals that emanate from a technologically developed civilization. They have been doing it since the 1960s thanks, among other things, to the various projects of the SETI Institute, whose objective is to detect the presence of advanced civilizations in our Milky Way.
One of these projects is Breakthrough Initiatives, funded by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner for $ 100 million over a 10-year period.
The researchers associated with it have just published the results of the most advanced analyzes to date. They analyzed no less than 1 petabyte (1 million gigabytes) of data collected in radio and optical wavelengths.
Nothing in our galactic neighborhood either
This first assessment of three years of stalking extraterrestrial technosignatures shows no trace of intelligent life around 1327 stars that are within 160 light years of our solar system. Nothing. Nothingness.
And this, despite the use of ever more powerful instruments, such as the Green Bank telescope in the United States, which is the largest directional radio telescope in the world.
“We have not detected any signals from an advanced civilization that would attempt to contact us with incredibly powerful instruments,” says Danny Price, astronomer at the SETI Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. .
We analyzed thousands of hours of observations of nearby stars. We did not find any obvious evidence of extraterrestrial artificial signals. However, that does not mean that there is no intelligent life. We may not be looking at the right place or with enough precision!
Danny Price, astronomer at the SETI Research Center
The scientist does not lose hope of a possible communication of the third type. He argues that current research may be conducted at low frequencies, and radio interference from the Earth could also affect signal perception.
In addition, new telescopes will soon join the research effort, such as the MeerKAT Observatory in South Africa, which will help refine the analyzes.
We must also recognize that Homo sapiens are conducting this quest with the technological means they have developed over the scientific breakthroughs they are making. They may not have sophisticated instruments to get there.
One thing is certain, if scientists ever see such an extraterrestrial signal, it will have to be thoroughly analyzed to confirm its authenticity. In the process, humanity will achieve one of its greatest discoveries.