Another groundbreaking search for extra-terrestrials and their technology turned up unfruitful in Western Australia. Hope for alien life has been once more soiled but not given up on.
The Murchison Widefield Array's (MWA) radio telescope made a massive sweep of over 10 million star systems in the Vela constellation, and the data was carefully analyzed, though unfortunately, no alien life came up on our sights.
A study on the research was published in Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia on arXiv.
No alien technosignatures in sight
The team, which included researchers from CSIRO and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), was searching for low radio frequencies similar to our own. This is why the team used MWA's facilities, based in a radio-quiet zone, using its 256 array tiles with a frequency range between 80 and 300 MHz.
As CSIRO astronomer Dr. Chenoa Tremblay told Curtin University that's also involved in the research "The MWA is a unique telescope, with an extraordinarily wide field-of-view that allows us to observe millions of stars simultaneously."
"We observed the sky around the constellation of Vela for 17 hours, looking more than 100 times broader and deeper than ever before," she continued and added, "With this dataset, we found no technosignatures—no sign of intelligent life."
Even though the team observed a large part of space, it was still but a drop in a big, big ocean. As Steven Tingay from ICRAR explained, "the amount of space we looked at was the equivalent of trying to find something in the Earth’s oceans but only searching a volume of water equivalent to a large backyard swimming pool."
So there's still a lot of room for searching.
The team is not disheartened by its findings, as it knows that technology will keep pushing the limits, and Tingay noted that they "have to keep looking."
And they're right. Even if the MWA's tiles couldn't pick up signs of extra-terrestrial life or alien technology, the upcoming Square Kilometer Array (SKA) with its telescopes in Australia and South Africa will continue the search by surveying billions of star systems.