The universe is an unbelievably big place. Heck, our galaxy alone is so massive that of the estimated billion-plus stars in the Milky Way, only a few thousand are visible to the naked eye on a clear, pitch-black night. Because of its sheer size, radio signals from Earth have only reached a tiny swathe of the galaxy. That means the radio signals we’ve received have come from our close neighbors. Well, “close” is relative.
Wait—signals we’ve received? That’s right. Would you believe us if we told you that astronomers recently picked up weak radio signals from solar systems 165 light-years away?
According to The Sun and Dr. Benjamin Pope of the University of Queensland, the radio signals mark a significant step in mapping the galaxy. And before we start freaking out about alien invasions, bear in mind that these particular signals are thought to stem from the magnetic fields of planets.
So it’s not exactly the discovery of intelligent life other than our own, but it’s progress.
“It is the first time radio signals from planets outside our solar system have been picked up,” said Dr. Pope. “This could potentially lead to the discovery of planets throughout the galaxy.”
The key here is that some of these previously undiscovered planets may very well be capable of supporting life. According to The Sun, the signals were picked up by a low-frequency array radio telescope based in the Netherlands. They came from an area with 19 red dwarf stars. Based on the radio signature, four of them are potentially hiding planets.
“This is a spectacle that has attracted our attention from light-years away,” said Dr. Joseph Callingham of the Netherlands-based Leiden University.
Space Travel Not Your Thing? Avoid Alien Life with A Trip to ‘The Moon’
Like it or not, we’re living in a time when humans are still attempting to figure out space travel. We know how it’s done, but it remains highly dangerous, inefficient, expensive, the list goes on. Recently, significant progress has been made with some of the first regular citizen space flights in the past few months.
Unfortunately, those citizens were either filthy rich or scientists. It’s fantastic that there is increasing confidence in the technology, but most of us Outsiders won’t see space in our lifetimes. Fret not, because soon, places like Las Vegas will boast a full-on lunar experience for those of us who don’t have a spare quarter-million laying around.
“People want something unique, something different, something ‘Wow.’ Space flights cost $200,000 to $250,000 — so the masses just can’t participate. With Moon [World Resorts], for $500, they can walk on an authentic lunar surface and enjoy exploring a lunar colony in a spectacular way,” co-founder of Moon World Resorts Michael Henderson told The New York Post.