If extraterrestrial and intelligent life exists somewhere out there, would it be friendly or hostile towards us? That’s one of the main questions that people ask when it comes to hypothetical creatures from other planets. They might get an answer to the question a lot sooner than they expected.
According to Universe Today, the Breakthrough Listen project has started operations on the powerful MeerKAT radio telescope array from South Africa. This has huge and important implications for the search for traces of intelligent life elsewhere in the Cosmos. MeerKAT consists of 64 antennas located in the Meerkat National Park from the Northern Cape of South Africa. Breakthrough Listen, on the other hand, has the basic goal of searching for evidence of intelligent alien species.
Looking for alien life across a million stars
Due to the new initiative, Breakthrough Listen plans to use MeerKAT to scan a million stars located nearby with the hope of finding alien life. Astronomers generally estimate that the majority of stars out there have planets revolving around them, so it’s clear why we all should be excited about the new plans involving the MeerKAT telescope array. However, only about 5,000 exoplanets have been discovered so far, but many more should be added to the list soon enough.
Dr. Cherry Ng, the MeerKAT Project Scientist at Breakthrough Listen, explained as Universe Today quotes:
I am very excited to be able to conduct a search for technosignatures using one of the most sensitive telescopes in the world,
MeerKAT will provide us with the ability to detect a transmitter akin to Earth’s brightest radio beacons out to a distance of 250 light years.
The amazing thing about Breakthrough Listen is that it doesn’t only rely only on the MeerKAT telescope array. The project also operates using other telescopes, such as the Green Bank Telescope (USA) or the Parkes Telescope (Australia).
The wisest thing to do right now if you’re passionate about the idea of finding alien life is to keep an eye on the latest news about the discoveries of the MeerKAT telescope array!