This is a snapshot of the Hubble Space Telescope with a giant bubble blown into space by a super-hot massive star. This colorful formation was called the Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635)
Since the beginning of the birth of civilization, mankind has tried to understand whether we are united in the Universe. NASA is actively exploring the solar system, going beyond its limits, with the help of more and more complex instruments. Within our system, the agency is actively looking for signs of ancient or current life, concentrating primarily on Mars and Europe (Jupiter’s satellite). There are also Kepler and TESS missions exploring worlds around other stars.
The ability to find exoplanets and decades of searching for life signatures (biosignals) prompted NASA to find out if there are other creatures in the Universe. Moreover, scientists are not only looking for germs, but are now trying to discover advanced alien technologies. Techno-signals are signs hinting at the existence of technological life in other parts of the Universe. The most famous are radio signals, but there are others that have not yet been able to study in detail.
In April 2018, NASA decided to actively search for technosignals as part of an alien life detection program. Therefore, on September 26-28, a seminar on NASA technologies was held in Houston to assess the current state of the industry, the most promising areas of research and possible sources of investment. The main goal is to determine the best way for NASA to support this commitment through partnerships with private and charitable organizations.
What is technopic?
The term “techno-captions” has a wider range of meanings than used in SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence). Techno signals, such as radio or laser radiation, hints of massive structures or an atmosphere filled with pollutants may imply that there is intelligence in a foreign world.
In recent decades, researchers have used radio telescopes to search for such signatures. Mankind has long used radio and television signals, which should break into space. The SETI program started in 1993 and since then has been trying to develop a fundamental understanding of life, its origin and the possibility of habitability of other planets.
History of the search for technological life
Interestingly, efforts to search for a technologically advanced life began even before the space age, when, at the beginning of the 20th century, people began to think about interplanetary communication. Theoretical work, suggesting the possibility of transmitting signals in radio and microwave lines to serious distances across the galaxy with little interference, led to the first “listening” experiments in the 1960s.
The launch of NASA’s Kepler mission made it possible to find thousands of alien worlds, some of which even looked very much like Earth. This is no longer science fiction, because one day it may turn out to prove that life exists outside the solar system. Difficult life is able to evolve and develop technology that can be fixed. No one knows if this is possible, but we know that probability is not zero. Therefore, technical signals can be included in possible interpretations of data from other planets. Of course, there are disputes regarding this topic. In 1961, astronomer Frank Drake created a formula that estimates the number of potential intelligent civilizations in the galaxy (Drake's equation) and received a response of 10,000. Most of the variables in the equation are still approximate estimates given the uncertainties. Let's also not forget about the famous Fermi paradox, where physicist Enrico Fermi argued that if there was another developed form of life, we would have already contacted.
The work of SETI began with the proposal of the biomedical researcher John Billingham from 1971 to create a telescopic array of 1000 plates per 100 meters that could catch television and radio signals from other stars. The Cyclops project did not receive funding, but in 1976 SETI resumed research in this area.
In 1988, NASA officially approved the SETI program. A 10-year project worth $ 100 million has begun a targeted search using the 300-meter radio telescope in Arecibo under the guidance of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Why is it important to search for techno signals now?
With the discovery of new planets that are predisposed to life, interest has also increased in the search for technical signatures. In 2015, Kepler noticed irregular variations in brightness, called Star Tabby. Many felt that this was evidence of the existence of an alien megastructure, although the researchers did put it on a dust cloud. However, Star Tabby has demonstrated the potential benefits of finding anomalies in space data. Scientists say that we will need more than just a strange signal to prove the existence of technological life. In the end, it may be radio frequency interference from terrestrial sources. NASA will continue to evaluate this area of research and will try to find sources of funding. Now most of the resources are transferred to the study of Mars, the Moon and Enceladus (satellite of Saturn). However, it is possible that a developed civilization is hiding outside our system, which may even be more technologically advanced than ours.