Why haven’t we heard from aliens? There is a reason for the silence

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The search for extraterrestrial intelligence has been going on for 60 years without success. Given the hurdles to interstellar communication, that’s just a blink of an eye

Life



17 November 2021

WHY haven't we heard from aliens? Nestled amongst the vast clouds of star-forming regions like this one lie potential clues about the formation of our own Solar System

ESA/Hubble & NASA

IN 1960, astronomer Frank Drake began an experiment. With a radio telescope, he studied two nearby sun-like stars, hoping to find signals that could only have been generated by life on planets orbiting these stars. He came up blank. In the six decades since Drake started the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI), astronomers have kept listening, carefully and systematically. Still, we have heard nothing.

One possibility is that there simply are no aliens out there – that we truly are alone. But this seems unlikely, given …

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