Humanity Will Out-Communicate all Life on Earth Within 90 Years

All organisms communicate information with their cells using signaling molecules. Add up all these communications, and it’s the equivalent of 10^24 bits per second, which is an incomprehensibly large amount. Humanity’s digital communication only amounts to 10^15 bits per second, nine orders of magnitude less. However, humanity’s information transmission is growing exponentially, and according to a new study, it should catch up within 90 years. These estimates could help astronomers search for technological civilizations more advanced than us.

If Earth Was an Exoplanet, JWST Would Know There's an Intelligent Civilization Here

JWST is the most powerful instrument astronomers have to study the atmospheres of exoplanets, looking for trace gases that might indicate life on another world. What if Earth was an exoplanet orbiting a nearby star? What could JWST learn about our planet? In a new study, astronomers took observations of Earth from various spacecraft and then simulated what JWST would see if it got our home planet in the crosshairs. The telescope could detect various chemicals, from water vapor to methane, but it could also sense the presence of chlorofluorocarbons resulting from our industrial infrastructure.

Watching the Watchers With Nancy Grace Roman

Astronomers have discovered thousands of planets using the transit technique, watching how distant stars dim as a planet passes in between us and the star. A small group of stars is lined up so alien astronomers can discover Earth using the same transit technique. In a new paper, researchers suggest that the upcoming Nancy Grace Roman Telescope should scan this Earth’s transiting zone for habitable planets. If there are other advanced civilizations there, they should know we’re here and would be the ideal places to search for signs of intelligence.

How Should the World’s Governments Respond if We Detect an Alien Civilization?

Science fiction is the realm where people traditionally wrestle with the idea of contact with an ETI (Extraterrestrial Intelligence.) But now, those discussions are migrating from science fiction into more serious realms. Academics are going back and forth, one paper at a time, concerning the response and geopolitical fallout from potential contact with an ETI. …

Humanity Will Need to Survive About 400,000 Years if We Want any Chance of Hearing From an Alien Civilization

If there are so many galaxies, stars, and planets, where are all the aliens, and why haven’t we heard from them? Those are the simple questions at the heart of the Fermi Paradox. In a new paper, a pair of researchers ask the next obvious question: how long will we have to survive to hear …