Astronomer To Start Hunting For Alien Spacecraft
Geoff Marcy, an astronomer with the University of California at Berkeley has already made a big impact when it comes to charting the space outside our solar system. Marcy found almost three quarters of the first 100 exoplanets ever to be discovered, but he doesn't intend to stop there. Not satisfied with looking for exoplanets, Marcy has just secured funding to use data from the Kepler telescope to try and detect signs of alien spacecraft.
$200,000 has been granted to Marcy, an official NASA researcher, by the Templeton Foundation, with the hope of answering probably one of the ultimate questions. However, this ultimate question is not a question of 'if', more a question of 'where'. Marcy believes that the size of the universe means the question of whether there is intelligent life out there, should not even be asked. He prefers to ask "How far away is our nearest intelligent neighbor?".
Using the masses of data from the soon to be defunct Kepler, Marcy will hunt for some pretty exciting signs of intelligent life. While the target is different, the methods will be almost identical to those used for tracking down and assessing exoplanets. Marcy believes that the dimming of the light emitted from a star could just as likely come from a massive alien spacecraft passing by as it could from an exoplanet in orbit.
However, Marcy's search won't be limited to spacecraft, he'll be borrowing from the great physicist Freeman Dyson, searching for evidence of something similar to a Dyson Sphere. The theory goes that intelligent alien races will be able to harness the energy emitted from a star, a process that will create huge heat signatures.
Marcy's efforts represent an increasingly flexible and varied approach in the hunt for extraterrestrial intelligence, but the even he is wary of what the repercussions should he be successful. When asked if he should stumble across something akin to a Death Star, his plan would be thus: "The first thing we do is transmit a message to them that says, 'We taste bad.'"