The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI) has introduced a new tool that will allow professionals and amateurs to dig through tons of material from the organization’s archives. Called “Technosearch,” the tool is expected to help uncover new clues about alien life on distant planets.
“The database includes the document covering every SETI search, beginning in 1960 and continuing to the present day. In keeping with the mission statement of the organization — in part — ‘to apply the knowledge gained,’ users can gain access to all the information to date and draw their own conclusions,” according to Sputnik News.
Prior to introducing the tool, searching through the vast database of SETI was a chore. This prevented many amateurs from checking out the materials. But with Technosearch, finding exactly what you want is now easy. As such, more people are expected to search through the database using the new tool, increasing chances that someone somewhere might come across a hint that may help scientists in their search for extraterrestrial life.
SETI is aided by a large number of users who keep the database up-to-date and 100 percent accurate. Technosearch has been developed in collaboration with interns working at the organization’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. The development was led by SETI co-founder Jill Tarter, who was the inspiration for Carl Sagan’s novel Contact. The tool was presented at the winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society by REU intern Andrew Garcia.
“I’ve become convinced that Technosearch will become an important instrument for astronomers and amateurs interested in exploring the cosmos for indications of other technological civilizations… We can’t know where to look for evidence tomorrow if we don’t know where we have already looked,” Garcia said in a statement (Space).
Ending fake alien detection news
SETI is also focused on eliminating fake news surrounding the topic of alien contact. To this end, they have revived the Rio Scale, now called Rio 2.0, which will help the public identify fake claims of alien detection. The scale values range from 0 to 10, with 0 representing a detection of no importance and 10 indicating a detection of very high importance. Rio 2.0 is expected to hold media responsible for their coverage of alien detections.
“It’s absolutely crucial that when we talk about something so hugely significant as the discovery of intelligent life beyond the Earth, we do it clearly and carefully… Having Rio 2.0 allows us to rank a signal quickly in a way that the general public can easily understand, and helps us keep their trust in a world filled with fake news,” Duncan Forgan, a SETI scientist at the University of St Andrews in the UK, said in a statement (Space).
One recent alien contact claim that was disproved by SETI was concerned with an interstellar object called “Oumuamua.” The object had entered our solar system in 2017, with scientists from Harvard saying that it might be an alien probe. The claim made big headlines and triggered huge public interest in the object. However, SETI trashed such claims.
“We were looking for a signal that would prove that this object incorporates some technology — that it was of artificial origin… We didn’t find any such emissions, despite a quite sensitive search. While our observations don’t conclusively rule out a non-natural origin for “Oumuamua, they constitute important data in accessing its likely makeup,” Gerry Harp from SETI said in a statement (Inverse).
Despite Oumuamua not being an alien probe, it remains true that it is definitely an interstellar object. Scientists estimate the object to have been ejected by a distant binary star system.