Researchers at Pennsylvania State University examined 100.000 galaxies in search of advanced extraterrestrial civilization, but their search lead nowhere. The scientists used data from the NASA satellite WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) and looked for an alien civilization by tracking down signs of infrared radiation. The findings of the study were published on April 15 in the Astrophysical Journal.
Physicist Freeman Dyson was the one who came up with the idea that aliens might be visible, claiming that they could use star light for their purpose and therefore send mid-infrared emissions. These emissions were considered a proof of alien life, but in the past the measurement of those radiations was not possible. Now this is possible using the WISE satellite.
Astronomer and astrophysicist Jason T. Wright from the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds at Pennsylvania State University explained that scientists have thought that if a whole galaxy had been populated by advanced spacefaring civilization then it means that the technologies of the civilization would produce energy detectable in mid-infrared wavelengths.
Wright added that irrespective of how the spacefaring civilization uses the energy from the galaxy’s stars, be it for space flight, computers, communication or something which is beyond our understanding, according to fundamental thermodynamics this energy should be radiated away under the form of heat in the mid-infrared wavelengths. This functions exactly like a computer which radiates heat when it is turned on.
WISE analyzed around 100 million galaxies which emitted more infrared radiation than a natural process would normally do. The researchers found approximately 100,000 promising galaxies. Among the 100,000 galaxies, only 50 presented unusual radiation patterns. However it cannot yet be determined whether they are natural anomalies or proof of alien life. Scientists will further explore the cause of these anomalies, but they are considered to be natural astronomical processes most likely. After billions of years there might be alien life in these galaxies which has used advanced technology for developing. They either do not use enough energy for the satellite to detect it or they simply do not exist.
Director of the Buhl Planetarium at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Science Center, Brendan Mullan, remarked that this research is an important progress compared to the earlier work done in the field. Previously the only study which examined life in other galaxies analyzed only 200 galaxies. Moreover, they were not trying to identify alien life by the heat the galaxies emit so according to him this is a new ground.
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