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Our Best Chance to Eavesdrop on ET

Our best chance of picking up a broadcast from intelligent aliens is when the Earth is closest to being directly between our Sun and the transmitting alien star. Robin Corbet, of the Universities Space Research Association, thinks Aliens trying to communicate would determine the Earth's orbit, then time their signal to arrive when Earth is closest to them. All we need to do is synchronize our searches to look at possible sources of signals at these times. And if we don't answer right away, they may quit trying. "The longer a program is continued without success, the less resources a civilization may be willing to devote to it," he says.

Our chances of getting in touch with aliens are increasing due to rapid advances in computer technology. Scientists at the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute are using powerful radio telescopes to listen to radio signals from space. Senior astronomer Seth Shostak says, "The chances that you'll hit the jackpot keep getting better thanks to this improvement in technology. You point them in the direction of nearby stars that are like our own Sun and if they are using radio technology then we should be able to pick up signals in this particular radio band. But you have to monitor many hundreds of millions, if not many thousands of millions of channels because ET never sent us an e-mail saying where on the dial he might be broadcasting. In order to be able to do that fast and with a great deal of sensitivity, you need computers."

SETI scientists believe that as computers get more and more powerful, their chances of running across ET are increasing. Shostak says, "Everybody finds a certain excitement [in the idea] that today, finally we may be able to find an answer to a question that every generation of humans has asked."

Do secret parts of our government already know the answer? Find out from ?UFOs and the National Security State? by Richard Dolan, click here.

To learn more about ET contact, click here and here.

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