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HUMANS have reportedly damaged one of the best resources for detecting intelligent alien life.
Excessive use of radio waves could hinder researchers’ ability to listen for aliens sending transmissions our way, reports claim.
SETI is the catch-all acronym for the “search for extraterrestrial intelligence”.
One of the most effective ways to scan for signs of life coming from deep space is by monitoring radio waves.
“Messaging by light has a fundamental advantage over radio in that it can, in principle, convey far more bits per second – typically a half-million times as many,” SETI researchers wrote in an official statement.
But the high demands of the globalized internet have hamstrung research.
“Earth is just getting more and more polluted,” SETI researcher Dan Werthimer said.
“With some radio bands, it’s already impossible to do SETI because they’re so full of television transmitters, WiFI and cellphone bands.”
Technologists are struggling to cut through the noise and NBC New York reported that the auditory clutter has skewered data.
Werthimer and colleagues authored a paper detailing inaccurate SETI hits that set off media frenzies – the false positives were caused by interference.
Wireless technologies could put one of our most efficient space monitoring tools at risk.
The spread of wireless technologies won’t slow down – in 2016, the UN General Assembly declared that internet access is a human right and private space companies are working to beam in internet from satellites.
SETI engineers’ resourcefulness has led them to develop machine learning techniques to limit the impact of interference.
“Adding hundreds of more satellites that all produce the same interference is really annoying, but you can develop systems to remove that,” Bruce Betts, chief scientist at The Planetary Society told NBC News.
SETI research is not as contentious as messaging extraterrestrial intelligence (METI).
Some experts argue it would be unwise to publicize Earth’s location to potentially hostile alien listeners.