A study published in the journal Astrobiology argues that in order to look for extraterrestrial civilizations, we would have to look for alien artifacts in our solar system. For that we’d better start with the moon. Author James Benford developed a version of the Drake equation.
As a reminder, the latter was born in the 1960s. First proposed by radio astronomer Frank Drake in 1961, it is used to estimate the number of civilizations that might exist in the Milky Way based on radio signals from space.
An approach that sometimes turns out to be ineffective
The technique Drake recommends is an approach called SETI (Finding Alien Intelligence), which consists of searching for intelligent civilizations by searching the sky for radio or light signals. As Space.com notes, a new concept has emerged over the years.
This SETA (search for extraterrestrial artifacts) advocates searching for extraterrestrial artifacts near Earth rather than analyzing signals from far away in space. According to a 2004 report, the problem with the “SETI” approach is that it is expensive. It could therefore prove ineffective, especially if an alien civilization realizes that artifacts are a more profitable contact strategy than emissions.
Alien artifacts in the solar system?
In addition, extraterrestrial civilizations may have been dead for thousands, even millions of years, or billions of years when their signals were discovered by Terrans. Benford recommends looking for extraterrestrial artifacts on other bodies near our planet, particularly the moon, and on Trojan objects.
AI to make our jobs easier. Photo credit: Shutterstock / HelenField
He noted that about two stars come from the solar system in a light year per million years and that about one star comes every 5,000 years in 10 light years. It could be that aliens took advantage of these close encounters to leave clues of their existence in the solar system, including “lurkers”, hidden and probably intelligent alien probes.
AI to make our jobs easier
The microwave science physicist pointed out that NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has taken around 2 million photos of the moon with a resolution of up to 30 centimeters for almost twelve years. “You can see Neil Armstrong’s footprints on the moon in some photos, but only a handful of those images were examined with human eyes,” he said. Benford therefore recommends using artificial intelligence solutions to facilitate the search for structures or signs of artificiality in an archaeological process.