Astronomers Apply New AI Technique to Accelerate the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Are we alone in the universe?

The GBT at night, photo credit Jee Seymour.

Scientists may have just moved us closer to answering this question. The team – led by researchers from the University of Toronto – has streamlined the search for extraterrestrial life by using a new algorithm to organize the data from their telescopes into categories, to distinguish between real signals and interference. This has allowed them to quickly sort through the information and find patterns, through an artificial intelligence process known as machine learning.

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NSF and SpaceX Finalize Radio Spectrum Coordination Agreement

Photo credit Dave Green.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and SpaceX have finalized a radio spectrum coordination agreement to limit interference from the company’s Starlink satellites to radio astronomy assets operating between 10.6 and 10.7 GHz. The agreement, detailed in a statement released by NSF today, ensures that Starlink satellite network plans will meet international radio astronomy protection standards, and protect NSF-funded radio astronomy facilities, including the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and the Green Bank Observatory (GBO). The agreement will also positively impact collaborations and cooperation between SpaceX and NSF’s NOIRLab.

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Planetary Defense & Science Will Advance With New Radar on Green Bank Telescope

With less power than a microwave, prototype produced highest resolution images of Moon ever captured from Earth

With a transmitter less powerful than a microwave oven, a team of scientists and engineers used the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope (GBT) and Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) to make the highest-resolution radar images of the Moon ever collected from the ground, paving the way for a next-generation radar system to study planets, moons, and asteroids in the Solar System.

A Synthetic Aperture Radar image of the Moon’s Tycho Crater, showing 5-meter resolution detail. (click images above for full view) Image credit Raytheon Technologies.

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Science Newsletter #AAS241 Edition

Photo credit Jay Young.

Find out about all of GBO’s latest news and research!

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GBT Scans 12 Planets for SETI Search

Artist’s impression of the TRAPPIST-1 system, showing two of its seven planets transiting in front of the star. Credit: NASA
Artist’s impression of the TRAPPIST-1 system, showing two of its seven planets transiting in front of the star. Credit: NASA

The Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT), part of the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia, is the world’s premiere single-dish radio telescope. Between its 100-meter dish (328-foot), unblocked aperture, and excellent surface accuracy, the GBT provides unprecedented sensitivity in the millimeter to meter wavelengths—very high to extremely high frequency (VHF to EHF). Since 2017, it also became one of the main instruments used by Breakthrough Listen and other institutes engaged in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

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