NASA for the first time in over three decades is funding the work of a group of research scientists looking for signs of alien civilization, according to Forbes.
The grant will provide funding for scientists to search for signs of life via "technosignatures."
Scientists at the Center for Astrophysics Harvard & Smithsonian and the University of Rochester are collaborating on the study, titled "Characterizing Atmospheric Technosignatures."
"Technosignatures relate to signatures of advanced alien technologies similar to, or perhaps more sophisticated than, what we possess," Avi Loeb, a professor of Science at Harvard who received the grant, said in a statement. "Such signatures might include industrial pollution of atmospheres, city lights, photovoltaic cells (solar panels), megastructures, or swarms of satellites."
Loeb in 2019 created a media frenzy when he suggested a mysterious space object might be from another civilization.
"I want to bring the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into the mainstream of astronomy," he said at the time. "There is a taboo about discussing anything related to that."
Adam Frank, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester, is the primary recipient of the grant.
"The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has always faced the challenge of figuring out where to look," Frank said. "Which stars do you point your telescope at and look for signals?
"Now we know where to look. We have thousands of exoplanets including planets in the habitable zone where life can form. The game has changed."
Jason Wright of Penn State University, Mansavi Lingam of the Florida Institute of Technology, and Jacob Haqq-Misra of Blue Marble Space are also involved in the project. The study aims to eventually produce the first entries for an online technosignatures library.
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