SETI Attempts To Spy On At Least 3 Exoplanets
Alien hunters and astronomers alike are now turning to the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) located in California in the hope of detecting an artificial radio signal.
Headed by members of the SETI Institute, astronomers will target a star system relatively close to Earth, specifically focusing on Trappist 1, a red dwarf-type star that hosts to at least 3 exoplanets.
The ATA has been used to “listen in” on star systems that NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope and other exoplanet-hunting missions have confirmed the presence of exoplanets, allowing Kepler to identify the size and orbit of each exoplanet. Astronomers can then determine if that planet is located in the star’s “habitable zone.”
Hopes for success are high based on the fact that Earth has been leaking a faint radio signals into space for over 100 years since the advent of commercial radio transmissions and have now recently begun pinging asteroids and planets with powerful radar.
Trappist 1 was selected for a follow-up SETI investigation, and being only 40 light-years away and an ancient compact planetary system that could be considered habitable.
SETI researchers estimate that if aliens are transmitting from that star system, they’d have to build a 300 meter-wide radio antennae with a transmitter power of 300 kilowatts and since scientists have developed radio transmitters with the maximum output of 700 kilowatts, building a transmitter for interstellar messaging purposes is well within the realms of technological possibility, astronomers theorize.