Are we alone in the universe? UCLA astronomers enlist the public to find out

Anyone can help classify radio signals from the Green Bank Telescope that could reveal existence of intelligent life elsewhere

Artist’s depiction of Kepler-186f, the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone. A project launched by UCLA scientists will enlist members of the public to identify possible signs of intelligent life elsewhere in our universe. Credit: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle.

Join a community that’s helping UCLA astronomers search for life in the universe using the Green Bank Telescope. UCLA SETI launched a new project to crowdsource the search for extraterrestrial civilizations. (SETI is an acronym for “search for extraterrestrial intelligence.”) 

The project, Are We Alone in the Universe?, will give members of the public an opportunity to help scientists find signs of extraterrestrial intelligence by classifying radio signals that may have been emitted up to tens of thousands of light-years away and collected by a radio telescope. No special training or education is needed to participate. Classifying the signals will help scientists train artificial intelligence algorithms to identify which signals, among millions, could possibly have been made by intelligent life.

“If we found a radio signal that was produced by an extraterrestrial civilization, it would offer compelling evidence that humans are not alone in the universe and offer the exciting possibility of decoding any message encoded in the signal,” said Jean-Luc Margot, the project’s lead researcher, a UCLA professor of earth, planetary and space sciences and of physics and astronomy.

Read more in this story by Holly Ober and UCLA.

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