Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

TagBiosignatures (on exoplanets)

exoplanet-viewed-from-the-rocky-surface-of-its-moon-elements-of-this-image-furnished-by-nasa-stockpack-adobe-stock
exoplanet viewed from the rocky surface of its moon, elements of this image furnished by NASA.

So What Alien Tech Should the New Telescopes Be Looking For?

As powerful new telescopes come on line, we will be able to look for chemical signatures of civilization, not just life

Today, powerful telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope search among the now 5000 confirmed exoplanets for biosignatures — chemical compounds like methane and nitrous oxide — that are typically produced by life forms. But what about technosignatures, evidence of an advanced civilization? These might be, for example byproducts of a nuclear fusion (tritium, for example) that is not associated with as nearby supernova. That’s on the agenda for the new telescopes coming down the line as well: In 2021, the National Academies of Sciences released their Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020, called Astro2020. They release one every ten years, and each survey outlines the critical challenges in astrophysics and astronomy for the next decade. Astro2020 contains several Read More ›

planets-and-exoplanets-of-unexplored-galaxies-sci-fi-new-worlds-to-discover-colonization-and-exploration-of-nebulae-and-galaxies-stockpack-adobe-stock
Planets and exoplanets of unexplored galaxies. Sci-Fi. New worlds to discover. Colonization and exploration of nebulae and galaxies

Astrophysicist: Stop Looking For Extraterrestrial Civilizations!

And accept that ‘Oumuamua was a natural object, though a very mysterious one

Stony Brook astrophysicist Paul Sutter, who specializes in the emptiest regions of the universe, tries to put the mystery of space object ’Oumuamua on a non-extraterrestrial footing. ‘Oumuamua, first spotted by the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS1) in Hawaii on October 19, 2017 — hence the Hawaiian name — was observed for only 11 days before it left the solar system. It was cigar-shaped and not very large (it could fit inside a football field) but it was weird. It was also the first object to visit our solar system that was known to come from interstellar space: It was, from the moment of its discovery, a weird object — weird orbit, weird speed, weird properties … Read More ›

exoplanets-with-moon-stockpack-adobe-stock
Exoplanets with moon

How Exoplanets Have Made the Search for ET Respectable

Recent years have seen a marked change from official skepticism to official curiosity, which includes more generous funding for the search

Exoplanets were first confirmed in 1992. Before that, it was easy to simply mock the search for the flying saucers and the little green men. After that, the obvious question became: If planets, why not habitable planets? If inhabited, why not by intelligent life forms? It was the naysayers who had more to prove. More recently, astrobiologists looking for signals from intelligent extraterrestrials (technosignatures) have started to doubt that the old standby, radio, is the best choice, as science writer Corey S. Powell reports, ‘I was never a big fan of what might be called “beacon SETI”,’ the astrophysicist Adam Frank from the University of Rochester tells me. ‘The idea is that you’re waiting for somebody to send you a Read More ›