Looking for lurkers —a new way to do SETI

phys.org | 8/29/2019 | Staff
megzmegz123 (Posted by) Level 3
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The most recently discovered group of rocky bodies nearby Earth are termed co-orbital objects. These may have been an attractive location for extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) to locate a probe to observe Earth throughout our deep past. Co-orbital objects approach Earth very closely every year at distances much shorter than anything except the moon. They have the same orbital period as Earth. These near-Earth objects provide an ideal way to watch our world from a secure natural object. Co-orbitals provide resources an ETI might need: materials, constant solar energy, a firm anchor, concealment.

Co-orbitals have been little studied by astronomy and not at all by SETI or planetary radar observations. James Benford has proposed both passive and active observations of them as possible sites for ET probes that may be quite ancient.

Lurker - Observing - Probe - Signal - Motivations

A "Lurker' is a hidden, unknown and unnoticed observing probe. They may respond to an intentional signal and may not, depending on unknown alien motivations. Lurkers would likely be robotic, like our own Voyager and New Horizons probes.

Long-lived robotic lurkers could have been sent to observe Earth long ago. As they would remain there after their energy supply runs out, this is extraterrestrial archeology. If we find nothing there, this gives us a profound result: no one has come to look at the life of Earth, which has been evident in our atmosphere's spectral lines over interstellar distances for over a billion years.

Co-orbitals - Targets - SETI - Searches - Proximity

Co-orbitals are attractive targets for SETI searches because of their proximity. Benford thinks we should move forthrightly toward observing them, both in the electromagnetic spectrum of microwaves and light, and planetary radar. And we can visit them with probes. The...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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