24/7 Space News
EXO WORLDS
Massive radio array to search for ET signals from other civilizations
illustration only
ADVERTISEMENT
Massive radio array to search for ET signals from other civilizations
by Staff Writers
Mountain View CA (SPX) May 02, 2023

One of the world's most powerful radio telescope arrays is joining the hunt for signals from other galactic civilizations. The National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), situated about 50 miles west of Socorro, New Mexico, is collecting data that scientists will analyze for the type of emissions that only artificial transmitters make, signals that would betray the existence of a technically accomplished society.

"The VLA is the go-to instrument for radio astronomers, but this is the first time we are using it in a wide-ranging and continuous search for technosignatures," said Andrew Siemion, Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI at the SETI Institute.

The VLA is one of the most productive radio telescopes in the world and consists of 27 antennas spread over 23 miles of desert real estate. Since 2017, it has been engaged in a project known as VLASS (Very Large Array Sky Survey), a radio reconnaissance of 80 percent of the sky. But while these observations are being undertaken, a tap on the signal distribution network will shunt a copy of the data into a special receiver sporting very narrow (approximately one hertz wide) channels. Researchers expect that any signals from a deliberately constructed transmitter will contain such narrow-band components, and their discovery would indicate that the signal is not produced by nature, but by an alien transmitter.

The new processing system for SETI is dubbed "COSMIC" - the Commensal Open-Source Multimode Interferometer Cluster - and is spearheaded by the SETI Institute, in collaboration with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the Breakthrough Listen Initiative.

"COSMIC operates commensally, which means it works in the background using a copy of the data astronomers are taking for other scientific purposes," said Paul Demorest, Scientist and Group Lead for VLA/VLBA Science Support at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. "This is an ideal and very efficient way to get large amounts of telescope time to search for rare signals.

Unlike many previous SETI observations, a wide variety of transmissions, such as pulsed and transient signals, can be recognized by this new experiment. The range of frequencies to be monitored is unprecedented, and the tally of star systems examined will be approximately ten million.

Since the beginning of 2023, signals from the Voyager 1 spacecraft have been detected by the COSMIC system to verify the operation of the individual antennas in the array as well as combining their observations to produce a result that clearly shows the carrier and sidebands of the transmissions from the spacecraft. Voyager 1 is currently at a distance of about 15 billion miles and is the most distant human-made object.

"The detection of Voyager 1 is an exciting demonstration of the capabilities of the COSMIC system," said Jack Hickish, Founder, Real-Time Radio Systems Ltd. "It is the culmination of an enormous amount of work from an international team of scientists and engineers. The COSMIC system is a fantastic example of using modern general-purpose compute hardware to augment the capabilities of an existing telescope and serves as a testbed for technosignatures research on upcoming radio telescopes such as NRAO's Next Generation VLA."

When combined with the exquisite sensitivity of the VLA, COSMIC will be approximately a thousand times more comprehensive than any previous SETI search. History shows that major improvements in the sensitivity and range of exploratory experiments are often rewarded with the detection of a signal. If so, this effort might see the uncovering of a radio whisper that would tell us that we're not the only intelligent inhabitants of the Milky Way Galaxy.

"The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is proud to partner with the SETI Institute in this exciting initiative," said Tony Beasley, Director of the NRAO. "Partnerships bringing together world-class research instruments, private research institutes, and members of the public personally committed to forefront science, can enable new important discoveries."

Related Links
SETI Institute
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

RELATED CONTENT
The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
EXO WORLDS
AI joins search for ET
Toronto, Canada (SPX) Jan 31, 2023
Breakthrough Listen has reported the results from a new method of searching data driven by artificial intelligence. In a paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy, the team analyze 480 hours of data from the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia, and report eight previously undetected signals of interest that have certain characteristics expected of genuine technosignatures. The research, led by University of Toronto undergraduate student Peter Ma, who began working with the Breakthrou ... read more

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
EXO WORLDS
Virgin to launch commercial spaceflights in June

Prep in the pool for Europe's next astronauts

Cosmonauts transfer airlock between ISS modules

SpaceX set to launch Vast's commercial space station and inaugural human spaceflight mission

EXO WORLDS
New standard will aid in development of spaceport descriptions

China's reusable experimental spacecraft successfully lands

Rocket Lab to launch small satellite swarm for NASA

Phantom Space and Quub sign multiple launch agreement

EXO WORLDS
Aerovironment awarded $10M JPL to co-design and develop two helicopters for Mars Sample Return mission

Ubajara drill site gets green light: Sols 3823-3824

Check And Double Check: Sols 3821-3822

Chasms on the flanks of a Martian volcano

EXO WORLDS
Tianzhou-5 cargo craft separates from China's space station

China's cargo craft Tianzhou 6 ready for launch

Tianzhou 6 docks with Tiangong space station

Final frontier is no longer alien

EXO WORLDS
How NASA's work led to commercial spaceflight revolution

SpaceX lifts another 56 Starlink satellites into lower Earth orbit

SpaceX launches 51 Starlink satellites from California

UK gives Viasat clearance to acquire Inmarsat

EXO WORLDS
Great balls of fire! 'Rocket debris' lights up Japan night

General Atomics delivers spacecraft simulator supporting NASA TSIS-2 program

Arianespace to launch the first active debris removal ClearSpace mission with Vega C

Astra announces spacecraft engine contract with Apex

EXO WORLDS
Researchers measure the light emitted by a sub-Neptune planet's atmosphere for the first time

Webb looks for Fomalhaut's asteroid belt and finds much more

Webb takes closest look yet at mysterious planet

Hubble follows shadow play around planet-forming disk

EXO WORLDS
NASA: Up to 4 of Uranus' moons could have water

New video series captures team working on NASA's Europa Clipper

Work continues to deploy Juice RIME antenna

Juice's first taste of science from space

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


ADVERTISEMENT



The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.