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When Will We Discover Some Form of Alien Life?

In the Milky Way alone, there are an estimated 300 billion stars that host about 9 billion habitable, Earth-size planets. Could some form of alien life have taken root on any of these planets? Projects like Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) have scoured the skies for signs to answer this question, and we asked Futurism readers when they thought these efforts would finally be successful. The poll shows that more than half of responders believe we will discover extraterrestrial life in the first half of the 21st century, and the decade that received the most votes (about 27 percent) is actually the soonest — the 2020s. This was the prediction of Michael Barker, who wrote, “Technology is seriously Sci-fi these days. If an alien so much as farts in space in the next decade, we’ll be able to hear it. In all seriousness. The sensors we have today are very broad in their capability, and are very versatile.” While little work has been published detecting bodily sounds from other planets, our ability to look for different signs of life is rapidly advancing. Examples of our improved technology include the James Webb Space Telescope, which is seven times stronger than the Hubble telescope, and the equipment used for the Breakthrough Listen initiative. The initiative is conducting a 10-year survey for signs of life from the 1 million stars closest to Earth using the most powerful instruments available. The Breakthrough website claims that their spectroscopic equipment “could detect a 100 watt laser (the energy of a normal household bulb) from 25 trillion miles away.”

Read More: Futurism

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