An artists illustration of a Dyson Sphere - Alien Space Station. Shutterstock.

NASA is Officially Searching for Technosignatures to find Aliens

Scientists will now search for traces of advanced technology on exoplanets across the galaxy.


NASA has officially designated a budget to allow scientists to search for technosignatures on distant alien worlds, hoping to discover intelligent alien civilizations on planets in our galaxy. NASA has allocated funds for the first time to allow scientists to examine technosignatures – detectable signs of past or present technology used on other planets – not related to radio signals. The plan is simple; search exoplanets in the galaxy for traces of potential technosignatures unrelated to radio signals that distant alien civilizations may have left behind on their planet.

Online technology signature library

The grant will allow Adam Frank, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester, along with his collaborators Jacob-Haqq Misra of the international non-profit organization Blue Marble Space, Manasvi Lingam of the Florida Institute of Technology, Avi Loeb of Harvard University, and Jason Wright of Pennsylvania State University incorporate the first entries into an online technology signature library, which will hopefully allow us to answer questions such as, are we alone in the universe? “SETI has always faced the challenge of figuring out where to look,” Professor Frank revealed. “Which stars do you point your telescope at and look for signals? Now we know where to look.

Of more than five thousand exoplanets, could there be one that’s inhabited?

We have thousands of exoplanets, including planets in the habitable zone where life can form. The game has changed.” The search for alien life has changed. Everything has changed. Our society has also changed, and suddenly, UFOs and the idea of alien life are no longer distant conspiracy theories. Millions of people have embraced the idea that life in the galaxy may be far more widespread than initially thought. This has also been identified by scientists, who have revealed that the nature of the search has also changed. A civilization, by nature, will need to find a way to produce energy, explained Professor Frank.


Limited forms of energy

“There are a limited number of forms of energy in the universe. Aliens are not magic.” And they certainly are not. But what they can be is extremely advanced, or at least to a point where it will become obvious to us while searching for them. Although life can take many forms, it will always be based on the same physical and chemical principles that underlie the universe. The same connection is maintained to build civilization; Any technology that uses an alien civilization will be based on physics and chemistry. Researchers can use what they’ve learned in Earth-bound labs to guide their thinking about what might have happened elsewhere.

Signs of aliens

“I hope that using this grant, we will quantify new ways to probe signs of alien technological civilizations that are similar or much more advanced to our own,” says Loeb, the Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of Science at Harvard. The project has never before been attempted, which makes it pretty exciting. For starters, astronomers will look at two possible technosignatures that may show that a technologically developed society inhabits a certain planet in the galaxy.

Two possible technosignatures that astronomers will look for

  1. Solar panels. The scientists will look at distant alien worlds in hopes of finding devices that would allow a society to harness the energy of its star. Since stars are one of the most powerful energy generators in the universe, it is only logical to assume that a distant alien civilization would work towards developing technology that would allow them to take advantage of “free” energy.
  2. Pollutants. A technologically advanced society, whether here on Earth or on a distant alien world, would develop technology that would affect the atmosphere and biosignature of a world. We know that humankind has greatly altered our planet and the chemicals inside the atmosphere, and it is only logical to assume that a developed alien society on a distant alien planet has done the same. Therefore, to discover whether aliens inhabit a planet in the galaxy, we might look at the atmosphere of exoplanets to see if certain chemicals can give off their presence.

Better understanding how we can find alien life

“We have come a long way toward understanding how we might detect life on other worlds from the gases present in those worlds’ atmospheres,” explains Wright, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State. The grant and the technosignature study come at an excellent time. Not long ago, researchers from the University of Nottingham revealed that our galaxy alone might harbor at least 36 intelligent alien civilizations.


“There should be at least a few dozen active civilizations in our Galaxy under the assumption that it takes 5 billion years for intelligent life to form on other planets, as on Earth,” explained Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Nottingham, Christopher Conselice.

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Written by Justin Gurkinic

Hey, my name is Justin, and my friends call me Gurk. Why? Becuase of my last name. It sounds like a vegetable. Kind of. I love sleeping and writing. History is my thing.

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