With the collaboration between the SETI Institute, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), and the Breakthrough Listen Initiative, the search for extraterrestrial life has reached new heights. Using the world’s most powerful radio telescope array, the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), these organizations will search the cosmos for artificial signals from other civilizations.

Skywatching: Narrow-Band Signal Analysis for Technosignatures

Since 2017, the Very Large Array Sky Survey (VLASS) has been conducted by the VLA, which consists of 27 antennas distributed across 23 miles of desert in New Mexico, and has mapped 80 percent of the sky.

In this innovative collaboration termed COSMIC (Commonsal Open-Source Multimode Interferometer Cluster), researchers will now analyze a copy of the collected data for narrow-band emissions, which could indicate the presence of a technologically advanced civilization.

This is the first time that the VLA will be utilized for such a comprehensive and continuous search for technosignatures.

Expanding the search for extraterrestrial life via a broader range of transmissions

The COSMIC initiative distinguishes itself from previous SETI observations because it can identify a wide range of transmissions, including pulsed and transient signals.

This new experiment will monitor an unprecedented spectrum of frequencies, and the number of star systems examined will reach an astounding ten million.

With the exquisite sensitivity of COSMIC, this search for extraterrestrial life will be a thousand times more exhaustive than any prior SETI endeavor.

Success of Voyager 1: COSMIC System Demonstrates Its Value

Since early 2023, signals from Voyager 1, humanity’s most distant spacecraft at 15 billion miles away, have been effectively detected to demonstrate the efficacy of the COSMIC system.

The detection demonstrates the potential of COSMIC as a testbed for future technosignature research on next-generation radio observatories, such as the Next Generation VLA of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO).

Using a combination of world-class research instruments, private research institutes, and the dedication of scientists and engineers, the COSMIC collaboration could potentially discover the radio signal indicating that we are not the only intelligent beings in the Milky Way Galaxy.

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