The US National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the SETI Institute agreed to collaborate to look for signs of extraterrestrial life with the use of the Very Large Array (VLA), the most productive radio telescope in the world, located in New Mexico and consisting of 27 giant radio telescopes.
The radio telescope is used to observe black holes and study the formation of the universe, but never before had an instrument for the search of extraterrestrial life been housed. To make it happen, it is planned to develop and install an Ethernet interface, which will allow the VLA to be used to search for technology markers, which would point to the existence of a technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilization, as well as to explore other astrophysical phenomena.
The new Ethernet interface will be able to access the raw data of all the VLA antennas, sending them through a new and more flexible signal processing software to search for real-time technomarkers.
“The SETI Institute will develop and install an interface in the VLA that will allow unprecedented access to the rich sequence of data continuously produced by the telescope while scanning the sky. This interface will allow us to conduct a comprehensive search study of extraterrestrial intelligence that will be much more complete than any previous search,” Andrew Siemion said of the SETI Institute.
“This plan will allow additional and important use for the data we are already collecting. In addition to addressing one of the deepest questions in science, this system can also improve our capabilities in other areas of science, ”said the director of the Observatory, Tony Beasley.
“Determining if we are alone in the universe as a technologically capable life is one of the most convincing questions in science, and telescopes can play an important role in responding,” he added.