According to Dr Nathalie Cabrol, who is leading the hunt for alien life at the Seti Institute in California, Super-intelligent aliens could be trying to contact Earth, but humans are too stupid to pick up the signals.
She believes, in our lifetime, we’ll find simple alien organisms close to Earth and a replica of our planet in another galaxy. Finding intelligent life, however, may not be as easy – largely because of our own limited view of the universe.
‘See how much progress we have made in the past 100 years,’ said Dr Cabrol. ‘If there is a civilisation out there that is only 1,000 years older than we are, who knows what type of technology, or what type of process, they’ve put into communicating with others.
Earlier this year, scientists picked up a series of mysterious pulsing signals coming from outside our solar system
Known as Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), just 10 of these signals have been discovered to date. A study earlier this year found that all 10 bursts’ dispersion measures are multiples of a single number: 187.5. The results imply five sources for the bursts are all at regularly spaced distances from Earth, billions of light-years away.
‘This will either be new physics, like a new kind of pulsar, or, in the end, if we can exclude everything else, an ET,’ said researcher Michael Hippke of the Institute for Data Analysis in Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany.
In April, Nasa’s chief scientist Ellen Stofan said we could find evidence of extraterrestrial life in 20 to 30 years. ‘We know where to look, we know how to look, and in most cases we have the technology.’ Jeffery Newmark, interim director of heliophysics at the agency, added: ‘It’s definitely not an if, it’s a when.’