Advanced aliens could hear humans on Earth despite being light years away, scientists have suggested – if extraterrestrial life exists, that is.
Did you know that humans have been unintentionally transmitting signals into space for nearly a century?
Experts think if there are intelligent aliens on nearby stars with advanced technology, they could detect life on Earth through leaked radio signals and other transmissions from our day-to-day lives.
From radio and television to radars, these high-frequency signals can reach space.
Most recently, mobile phones have also contributed to the leakage.
How was the study conducted?
For the study, scientists from the University of Manchester used crowd-sourced data to simulate radio leakage from mobile towers.
Researchers wanted to determine what alien civilizations might detect from various stars that were close to Earth – including the Barnard’s star, which is six light years away from Earth.
To conduct this study, models were generated by Ramiro Saide, an intern at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institution’s Hat Creek Radio Observatory in the US.
The results also showed the Earth’s mobile radio signature includes a substantial contribution from developing countries such as Africa.
The team said this is exciting because it highlights the countries’ success in moving directly into the digital age.
‘We could become readily detectable’
Professor Mike Garrett, team leader of the project at the University of Manchester, said: “I’ve heard many colleagues suggest that the Earth has become increasingly quiet radio in recent years – a claim that I’ve always contested.
“Although it’s true we have fewer powerful TV and radio transmitters today, the proliferation of mobile communication systems around the world is profound.”
Professor Garrett said while each system represents low radio powers, the “spectrum of billions of these devices is substantial.”
He added: “Current estimates suggest we will have more than 100,000 satellites in low Earth orbit and beyond before the end of the decade.
“The Earth is already anomalously bright in the radio part of the spectrum; if the trend continues, we could become easily detectable by any advanced civilization with the right technology.”
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‘I believe that there’s every chance advanced civilizations are out there’
So, could this mean we’re one step closer to finding extraterrestrial intelligence?
Dr. Nalini Heeralall-Issur, associate professor at the University of Mauritius, said: “I believe that there’s every chance that advanced civilizations are out there and some may be capable of observing the human-made radio leakage coming from planet Earth.”
Researchers will investigate other sources of Earth’s radio leakage signature as they look to build on the findings.
This includes military radars, new digital broadcast systems, wi-fi networks, individual mobile handsets and satellite constellations.