Friday, May 30, 2014

Hunt Intensifies for Aliens on Kepler's Planets

Hunt Intensifies for Aliens on Kepler's Planets
The Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia was the first to step up and award 36 hours to a team eavesdropping for transmitting extraterrestrial intelligence in multi-planetary star systems as identified by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.

By Irene Klotz
Discovery News

     Could ET be chatting with colleagues or robots on sister planets in its solar system? Maybe so, say scientists who last year launched a new type of Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, project to eavesdrop on aliens.

Astronomers are fascinated by exoplanets and the possibility of life on these worlds. Should they also focus on exomoons? Ian O'Neill from Discovery News explores the possibility of alien life and oceans on the moons of other planets.

Using data collected by NASA’s Kepler space telescope, a team of scientists spent 36 hours listening in when planets in targeted solar systems lined up, relative to Earth’s perspective, in hopes of detecting alien interplanetary radio signals.

“We think the right strategy in SETI is a variety of strategies. It’s really hard to predict what other civilizations might be doing,” Dan Werthimer, director of SETI research at the University of California Berkeley, told Discovery News.

The idea to seek out aligned planets was triggered by the flood of data collected by NASA’s Kepler telescope, which was launched in 2009 to search for Earth-sized planets that are the right temperature for liquid water, a condition believed to be necessary for life.

Kepler scientists have yet to announce a true Earth analog, but already have added 962 confirmations and 3,845 candidates to the list of 1,792 planets discovered beyond the solar system. . . .

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