Scientists unveil upcoming date they reckon aliens could make contact with Earth
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If you've ever wondered if we're alone out there in the great expanse we call space, well, apparently we're on the verge of finding the truth out.
A team of scientists in California reckon alien life may make contact with Earth soon.
Very soon. As in, within the next few years sort of soon.
The team of space boffins from the University of California think extra terrestrial life may make contact with humans by 2029, PopSci reports.
Yep, that's six years from now.
If you're worried aliens won't make contact within your lifetime, well, you can stop fretting your pretty little head over it, we guess.
So, how did these nerds ascertain that ET might be sliding into our DMs real soon?
Well, back in 2002, NASA sent out a radio wave transmission to the Pioneer 10 probe, which was launched back in 1972 and completed the first-ever mission to the planet Jupiter.
So, in 2002, they flicked out some radio waves.
They were sending data and whatnot, and to double check that communication was still a-OK with Pioneer 10.
But that's not all that happened.
Those radio waves leak out into the rest of space, including a star, which sits about 27 light-years away from our home planet.
So it's pretty far-reaching at this point.
Anyway, University of California researchers have their fingers and toes crossed, and they estimate that if the signal was intercepted by extraterrestrials and they returned one back to Earth, it'll be with us by 2029.
Cool, right? But does it sound familiar? Well, yes.
"This is a famous idea from Carl Sagan, who used it as a plot theme in the movie Contact," University of California Berkeley astronomer Howard Isaacson said.
Isaacson is also the co-author of the new work, published on March 20 in the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
The 1997 movie tells the story of a scientist who finds evidence of aliens on a distant planet 26 light-years away from Earth and chooses to make first contact by sending radio wave signals.
Told you it rang a bell.
Anyway, the actual study used signals sent from Earth to Voyager 1, Voyager 2, Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11 and New Horizons.
It then mapped out where the signals could have gone as they pinged their way out into the universe.
Those spacecraft link up to NASA's Deep Station Network (DSN) radio antennas in order to feed back scientific data.
So if we're going to hear from anyone, that's how we'll hear them.
Anyway, the University of California research team determined that transmissions to Voyager 2, Pioneer 10, and Pioneer 11 have already encountered the one star we mentioned earlier, a white dwarf.
The earliest we can expect a returned transmission is 2029, the report claims.
But it won't be all over if we don't hear from anyone by then.
By 2313, Pioneer 10's transmissions will encounter a further 222 stars.
So fingers crossed, as they say.