Two astrophysicists propose a new way to spot extraterrestrial life that might be searching for us. Their paper is published in the journal Astrobiology.
What if alien life is searching for us as we are searching for them? René Heller and Ralph Pudritz, the authors of the new paper, believe that the best way for us to pick any signal from them is to assume they are using the same methods to look for us as we are to find them.
Space researchers have been trying to identify signs of alien life by tracking the possibly-inhabitable planets as they pass in front of their stars. Heller and Pudritz are, therefore, assuming that extraterrestrial life might be observing us as we transit our sun. They are hence putting forward the proposal that researchers should be directing their efforts at the Earth’s transit zone, the point in space from where Earth’s path in front of the sun can be identified.
The transit zone includes around 100,000 host stars that might have habitable planets and moons orbiting them. The two authors say that if any of these planets has intelligent life looking out for ‘alien’ life, they might identify our own planet as an inhabitable one.
However, as Heller points out, it is not possible to forecast if aliens would actually be using the same observational methods as human researchers. But, he argues that the extraterrestrial lives would be putting up with the same physical principles. He insists that the solar transits of our planet are an “obvious method” to spot the Earth.
Therefore, Heller and Pudritz argue that searching for potential signs of alien life in the Earth’s transit zone might increase the chance of actually finding something; they recommend the Breakthrough Listen Initiative, one of the greatest search programs for alien life, to direct their efforts to this part of space.