While the search has so far yielded no evidence of the existence of advanced extraterrestrial civilisations in the depths of space, scientists note that there’s a number of factors which might explain these results.
An extensive survey of some 1,327 nearby stars, conducted as part of the so-called Breakthrough Listen initiative, has revealed that these systems are unlikely to serve as home for intelligent beings.
According to Live Science, the ten-year $100-million undertaking, which kicked off in 2015 and is bankrolled by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, is scouring the skies of alien planets for transmissions and other signatures that may hint of the presence of extraterrestrial technology there.
“There’s certainly nothing out there glaringly obvious,” said Danny Price, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Berkeley. “There’s no amazingly advanced civilisations trying to contact us with incredibly powerful transmitters”.
Commenting on the results of what the media outlet described as the “most comprehensive Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) programme ever undertaken”, Price noted that there are many factors that might explain the absence of alien signals, such as radio interference from Earth blocking these transmissions or the search being conducted on the wrong frequencies.
“In a lot of ways, SETI is a bit of a mirror back on ourselves and our own technology and our understanding of physics,” he mused.
In their latest release, the scientists analysed approximately 1 million gigabytes worth of data in optical and radio wavelengths. The information catalog compiled by the research team is expected to be available to the public via the initiative’s Open Data Archive.