September 13

How to Contact Extraterrestrial Life


If there is extraterrestrial life out there, they could possibly communicate with us via radio signals. These transmissions could come from interstellar space vehicles or electromagnetic radiation.

Researchers involved with the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence are attentive to any signs that indicate extraterrestrial intelligence – not only by listening for technosignatures from space itself but also from scientists in other disciplines.

1. Listen for Technosignatures

Astronomers have devised a set of parameters they believe would identify an extraterrestrial technosignature, or technosignature. Dubbed optical SETI, the technique relies on laser-based technology like continuous laser beams or nanosecond time-scale pulses detected by telescopes such as VERITAS at Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in Arizona; such signals offer greater promise as potential technosignatures as they’re unlikely to originate naturally.

Breakthrough Listen has recently collaborated with VERITAS collaboration in search of these signals using wide-field optical surveys, with encouraging results so far (Wright et al. 2022). However, too early to say whether or not we’ll detect an actual technosignature (Wright et al.).

Marcelo Lares is an astronomer at the University of Cordoba in Argentina who specialises in statistical analyses of stellar populations and large-scale structures of the universe, but also holds a passion for SETI research focusing on when communication species awaken to broadcast evidence of their existence and what factors affect this communication over cosmic distances.

2. Communicate with Dolphins

Dolphins have long held our attention, from watching them at aquarium shows to swimming alongside them on vacations. But it is their alleged intelligence that most intrigues scientists. Researchers have studied various sounds and nonverbal gestures believed by some experts to constitute what may amount to a dolphin language.

Researchers have also used echolocation as another means of communicating with dolphins. Echolocation involves dolphins ‘echolocating’ on objects and listening for click echoes that return; then building mental images using this information called holographic communication.

Researchers have successfully trained dolphins to use keyboard symbols to request toys. A scientist recently presented a TED Talk on this subject and created an underwater keyboard system called CHAT (Cetacean Hearing and Telemetry). When divers press keys on their suits to activate CHAT devices, sounds from each key press are transmitted directly to dolphins while their click echoes are localized by hydrophones so the dolphin can determine which sound was requested by pressing its respective key echoes.

3. Communicate with Plants

People often struggle to comprehend that plants can communicate, yet they do. Plants send signals through roots, mycorrhizal networks and chemical signals detected by other plants – this is how they warn each other about insects such as bees and wasps which can threaten them.

Communication among trees occurs through airborne chemicals; for instance, when an oak tree feels threatened by bee or wasp attacks, it will emit an airborne signal for other sensitive trees to pick up and use to increase their defenses against pests. By working together this is how they ensure survival for each other.

Learning to communicate with plants involves developing your psychic abilities. These include clairvoyance, clairsentience and clairaudience. While you might not believe in them at first, the benefits of communing with plant spirits are immense – they can foster deeper bonds with nature while offering more mindful living habits – it may even open up opportunities to interact with extraterrestrial beings!

4. Communicate with Animals

Scientists explore a diverse array of intriguing subjects, and many may seem farfetched to the average person. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pursue these fields further!

As an astronomer, Marcelo Lares usually engages in data-intensive statistical analyses of stellar populations and the large-scale structure of the universe and gravitational-wave events. But recently he has also been exploring an alien hunting technique which may provide greater chances for communication with alien lifeforms.

In a study published in Nature, Dr. Harcourt and his colleagues developed a transmission sequence designed to communicate science to any intelligent life that may intercept it. It starts with a prime number to signify artificiality before proceeding through our base-10 numeral system, basic mathematics principles and facts of science and technology.

At its conclusion, we provide a high-resolution pictorial representation of those elements of DNA we consider most likely to intrigue an alien civilization (see image above). Scientists are confident that any intelligent species capable of reading English would easily decipher this data – they just hope it responds in kind!

5. Communicate with Humans

Though we may have yet to discover any evidence of extraterrestrial life, there are signs that we’re close to making contact. Last year, scientists sent a signal from Earth to a NASA probe traveling 27 light years away; scientists hope any extraterrestrials receiving it might respond.

Scientists have long used SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence). Early efforts were called CETI, but in 2000 this changed to METI (messaging extraterrestrial intelligence) before eventually becoming Active SETI.

Approach consists of sending a series of matrix messages encompassing everything from our base-10 numeral system and DNA data to universal principles and facts relating to science, math and philosophy – as popularized by Carl Sagan’s book and film Contact. Astronomer Stephen Hawking cautioned that an alien encounter might resemble Columbus’ landing in America which did not go well for Native Americans.

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