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Do Aliens Exist? Watch What the Director of SETI Thinks

The brightly glowing plumes seen in this image are reminiscent of an underwater scene, with turquoise-tinted currents and nebulous strands reaching out into the surroundings. However, this is no ocean. This image actually shows part of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a small nearby galaxy that orbits our galaxy, the Milky Way, and appears as a blurred blob in our skies. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has peeked many times into this galaxy, releasing stunning images of the whirling clouds of gas and sparkling stars (opo9944a, heic1301, potw1408a). This image shows part of the Tarantula Nebula's outskirts. This famously beautiful nebula, located within the LMC, is a frequent target for Hubble (heic1206, heic1402).  In most images of the LMC the colour is completely different to that seen here. This is because, in this new image, a different set of filters was used. The customary R filter, which selects the red light, was replaced by a filter letting through the near-infrared light. In traditional images, the hydrogen gas appears pink because it shines most brightly in the red. Here however, other less prominent emission lines dominate in the blue and green filters. This data is part of the Archival Pure Parallel Project (APPP), a project that gathered together and processed over 1000 images taken using Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2, obtained in parallel with other Hubble instruments. Much of the data in the project could be used to study a wide range of astronomical topics, including gravitational lensing and cosmic shear, exploring distant star-forming galaxies, supplementing observations in other wavelength ranges with optical data, and examining star populations from stellar heavyweights all the way down to solar-mass stars. A version of this image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Josh Barrington.
A large 'cloud' that's actually a section of a neighboring galaxy. (Image: ESA/Hubble, NASA, Josh Barrington)

This question has most likely been asked for thousands of years—do aliens really exist? Since the 1970s, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence program (SETI) has been looking to the stars for answers. With the discovery of Kepler-452b by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, which orbits a star similar to our Sun, and sits at a distance roughly the same as Earth, only more question need answering.

The question everyone wants an answer for is, could there be life on this newly discovered planet, or even beyond?

Well, the director of SETI, Seth Shostak, believes there could be.

When Shostak is asked if he really thinks there are aliens out there, his answer is: “Of course, I do. I mean, you know, I didn’t take this job because I like the color of the furniture,” he says in the video with FURTHER.

Do aliens exist? Seth Shostak on space exploration:

“It’s because we now know enough about the sky. We now know enough about how the universe came into being to say, you know, this is probably not all that special. You know, obviously they’re nine planets around the sun—well these days eight—but you might not find too many other stars with planets. Now, we know that’s wrong. Most stars have planets. That’s new. That’s new information. That’s something in the last couple of years,” he adds.

Shostak  also said: “We might be able to learn more. We might even get a message. If we get a message, who knows what it might be. It might be really very informative. On the other hand, let’s assume that—in the conservative case, if you will—you don’t get a message. You can’t pick it up, or you can’t decode it. You’d never know what it means. All you know is there’s somebody up there who’s clever enough to build a radio transmitter.”

Watch the full interview with SETI Research’s Senior Astronomer Seth Shostak and let me know what you think.

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