Independent SETI Scientist Theorizes Extraterrestrials Could be Spying on Earth from Orbit

Tuesday, 01 October 2019 - 2:54PM
Solar System
Tuesday, 01 October 2019 - 2:54PM
Independent SETI Scientist Theorizes Extraterrestrials Could be Spying on Earth from Orbit
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The reasonable approach – assuming the possession of such a faculty – to encountering a new planet that shows some form of marginally advanced life would be to observe it for as long as possible from a safe distance before sending in the probes, recon teams, and hunter-killer units. That approach is what Dr. James Benford, a physicist and independent SETI researcher, is saying extraterrestrials could be taking to keep a close eye on Earth. Dr. Benford laid out his theory in an article entitled "Looking for Lurkers: Co-orbiters as SETI Observables" in The Astronomical Journal last month. 


Does this mean we should be scanning the skies for ships? Well, not exactly. Dr. Benford posits that Earth's abundance of non-lunar, co-orbital objects – like the asteroid 2016 H03 and other space rocks – could be doing double-duty as reconnaissance and observation posts for curious aliens. 


"A recently discovered group of nearby co-orbital objects is an attractive location for extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) to locate a probe to observe Earth while not being easily seen," Benford writes in the article's abstract. "These near-Earth objects provide an ideal way to watch our world from a secure natural object. That provides resources an ETI might need: materials, a firm anchor, and concealment."  


Benford admits that even if there are – or were – extraterrestrials observing Earth from a co-orbital object, they may not have seen anything recently, thanks to the sheer distance of stars like Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B, which are approximately 4.3 light years from Earth. Before you start booking a flight, please remember that one light year equals six trillion miles.


While others in the scientific community admit that it's possible, most remain skeptical, if intrigued. "How likely is it that alien probe would be on one of these co-orbitals, obviously extremely unlikely," said Arizona State University astrobiologist Paul Davies in a statement to LiveScience, "But if it costs very little to go take a look, why not? Even if we don't find E.T., we might find something of interest."  






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