WE’RE SCANNING THE RADIO WAVES, skipping through not to avoid commercials but to find alien life.
The BBC reports today that a telescope array funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen specifically designed to seek out intelligent life by scanning the radio signals of the heavens is on its way to being completed. When the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) reaches its full capacity it will be able to sweep over one million star systems in its search for alien life.
But this isn’t some NASA project that expects results in the distant future; to the contrary, the telescope’s creators hope to have spotted definite signs of life by 2025. This has the possibility to be one of those things like, “I remember when Pluto was a planet,” – i.e. “I remember when we thought aliens didn’t exist!”
The ATA’s creators claim that even with only 42 antennas on-stream, the instrument already rivals larger instruments in its ability to carry out brightness, temperature and point source surveys.
When all 350 dishes are gathering data, the ATA’s creators say it will allow the gathering of data on an “unprecedented” scale.
The finished instrument will be able to study an area of the sky 17 times larger than that possible with the Very Large Array in New Mexico.