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Saturday, May 18, 2024
Saturday May 18, 2024
Saturday May 18, 2024

Countdown to contact: Experts anticipate alien reply to NASA’s voyager probe signals

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Predictions suggest extraterrestrial response could arrive as early as 2029

As NASA’s Voyager space probe commemorates an impressive 45 years in space since its launch in 1977, experts are now speculating on the possibility of receiving a reply from extraterrestrial civilizations. The Voyager, having ventured farther than any other human-made device, exited the solar system in 2012 and has been traversing interstellar space, continually sending valuable data about the universe and the solar system back to Earth.

In a recent study published in Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, researchers delved into the far-reaching signals emitted by the Voyager probes and estimated when they might encounter a system capable of sustaining life. According to their findings, the earliest anticipation for a potential reply is set for 2029.

“These transmissions have encountered and will encounter other stars, introducing the possibility that intelligent life in other solar systems will encounter our terrestrial transmissions,” the study states. By identifying the stars Voyager 1’s transmissions will reach, researchers pinpoint potential locations where extraterrestrial life might intercept the signals and, theoretically, send transmissions back to Earth.

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While the idea of an alien civilization responding to our signals recalls themes from the Carl Sagan movie “Contact,” it is essential to note that the signals currently in transit are not from Voyager 1 or Voyager 2 but from the Pioneer probes. These signals have already reached a star, and if an intelligent civilization exists around that celestial body, there could be a potential reply.

Senior SETI astronomer Seth Shostak emphasized the difference, stating, “This wasn’t the first broadcast, of course. But it was at a high frequency that might make it through the ionosphere. However, it would have been very low power, and with a non-directional antenna. The idea that aliens might pick it up is pretty far-fetched.” Notably, the signals sent by NASA are significantly more robust.

 The NASA team expressed confidence that the transmissions would encounter surrounding planets of encountered stars. As the signals extend to other stars, the radius of potential encounters is expected to expand, leading to the assumption that planets orbiting each star will also intercept the spacecraft’s transmissions.

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