We have yet to discover a single trace of alien life, despite the extremely high probability that it exists somewhere. This contradiction is popularly known as the Fermi Paradox. A new theory attempts to solve this conundrum by suggesting that habitable planets are quite common in our galaxy, but nascent life gets…
In 1977, astronomer Jerry R. Ehman observed a data signal so unique he drew a red circle around it and wrote “Wow!” to emphasize the discovery. The source of the signal was never identified, leading some to say it was aliens. But a new study suggests it wasn’t aliens at all—but rather a hydrogen cloud caused by comets.
The science world is all in a tizzy this week about the supposed discovery of an alien megastructure. It’s an intriguing theory, no doubt, but one deserving hefty amounts of skepticism. As we’ve learned before, inexplicable observations are all too often confused for aliens. Here are some classic examples.
Researchers at the University of Washington’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory have devised a new habitability index for judging how suitable alien planets might be for life. The point of the exercise is to help scientists prioritize future targets for close-ups from NASA’s yet-to-be-launched James Webb Space Telescope…
It’s generally assumed that we will eventually find signs of life in the galaxy. But rarely do we consider searching for advanced civilizations that have destroyed themselves. Here’s how we could do it—and what the search for dead aliens could tell us about our own future.
Yesterday, NASA’s Kepler team announced the discovery of the most Earth-like planet yet. It may be larger than Earth, but this exoplanet is situated firmly within its star’s habitable zone—and it’s been there for a while. So could it actually sustain life?
Earlier today, during the announcement of the most Earth-like planet ever discovered, researchers working on the Kepler mission released an updated catalog—which now includes 521 new candidate planets. Add that to the 4,175 already discovered by the space-based telescope.
Russian billionaire Yuri Milner has announced a new initiative called Breakthrough Listen, a 10-year project that will search for radio and light signals emitted by extraterrestrials. At a cost of $100 million, it’s the largest sum of money ever allocated to the effort.
In Part I of Kurz Gesagt’s animated explainer of the Fermi Paradox we learned about the vexing problem that is the Great Silence. This follow-up video presents some intriguing solutions that may explain the disturbing absence of intelligent alien life.
The Great Silence is a vexing problem we all love to speculate and argue about, but it’s not the most intuitive concept. This wonderful animated video by Kurz Gesagt explains the problem that is the Fermi Paradox and why our apparent isolation in the galaxy is so damned weird.
A few weeks ago, NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan made news by saying, “I think we’re going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we’re going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years.” It was a bold statement, but NASA is now backing those words with action.
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence just got a big boost, thanks to the introduction of a powerful new infrared telescope. In addition to scanning for pulses of infrared light, astronomers will use device to search for alien megastructures, such as Dyson Spheres.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that our Solar System — with its inner collection of small rocky planets and an outer region buffeted by gas planets — is quite uncommon. According to a remarkable new study, the reason may have to do with Jupiter and an ancient migratory journey that kickstarted the destruction of…
For the first time ever, scientists have created a detailed catalogue of color swatches that correspond to nearly 140 known microorganisms, including those that can live in the most extreme environments. Armed with this knowledge, astrobiologists can now scan the atmospheres of distant exoplanets in hopes of finding a…
One of the greatest conundrums to face humanity is the question of extraterrestrial life. Many explanations have been posited over the years to explain why we have yet to make first contact, some better than others. Here are seven of the weakest solutions to the vexing problem known as the Fermi Paradox.
This coming weekend at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, experts will be discussing the potential benefits and risks of a SETI scheme in which messages about Earth — including the entire contents of Wikipedia — would be transmitted to hundreds of star systems.
Using a 200 year-old statistical technique, a team of Australian astronomers have concluded that virtually every star in the Milky Way hosts at least one to two terrestrial planets capable of fostering life.
Kepler scientists have discovered the oldest known system of rocky, Earth-sized planets in the Milky Way. This suggests that terrestrial planets have appeared throughout most of the Universe's 13.8 billion year history — a potential indication of just how ancient some extraterrestrial civilizations could be.
Given the extreme age of the Galaxy, extraterrestrial civilizations should have occupied every corner of it by now. Yet we see no signs of this. A short new video produced by New Scientist beautifully explains why the Fermi Paradox is a very real scientific problem and why it should be taken more seriously.
The discovery is a boost for the Panspermia Hypothesis — but it's a potential nightmare for scientists concerned about interplanetary contamination.