The search for Extra Terrestrial Civilisations

May 7, 2021

Energy-intensive civilisations are likely to have a significant impact on both their local and extended environments – as already seen here on Earth. Advanced technical civilisations may reveal themselves to other civilisations by introducing anomalous signals into astronomical data. Artificial radio signals are an example but other possibilities include excess infra-red emission due to waste heat losses. In this recording of a live online talk Professor Michael Garrett describes some of the main anomalies or “techno-signatures” that astronomers around the world are currently seeking, with a focus on the recent work being conducted at Manchester and the Breakthrough Listen Initiative (BLI). BLI has recently produced its first candidate signal – BLC1 – and Prof. Garrett discusses this new development and the future role long-baseline interferometry can play in follow-up observations and future surveys. He also talks about the need for astronomers to open up their minds to new possibilities and concede that there is a lot about the Universe they do not understand. As the universe continues to evolve for billions of years to come, he speculates on whether other, non-biological forms of intelligence and consciousness, may be out there awaiting discovery. Professor Michael Garrett is the Sir Bernard Lovell Chair of Astrophysics at the University of Manchester, and Director of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics. (Image courtesy of NASA)

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