By Spencer Otte. Bay City News.
The truth is out there, and researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are determined to find it with a new method announced in a scientific journal Tuesday to find alien life via radio signals from space.
Scientists have long searched for life on other planets using radio signals, but interference from terrestrial radios, cell phones, microwaves, and other technologies often leads to false alarms.
The new technique, developed by scientists at UC Berkeley's Breakthrough Listen project, verifies that the radio signal they are tracking actually passed through space, making it easier to filter out false positives.
The new detection method was described in a paper appearing in The Astrophysical Journal written by UC Berkeley graduate student Bryan Brzycki, UC Berkeley Imke de Pater professor emeritus of astronomy, and Andrew Siemion, director of the UC Berkeley program to search for extraterrestrial life.
According to a UC Berkeley press release, radio signals using transmission technology create a narrow-band radio signal, which is distinguished from the wide range of radio signals created by cosmic sources, such as stars or supernovae.
Due to terrestrial radio interference, determining which signals are coming from space can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. The UC Berkeley researchers were able to create an algorithm that analyzes radio signals for unique signatures created by traveling through space.
This technique will be useful for signals that have originated more than 10,000 light-years from Earth, the researchers say. The new technique will be used in future searches for alien life at the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, the world's largest steerable radio telescope, and the MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa.
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