Are we alone in the universe? The famous Seti (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) programme has been trying to answer this question since 1959. American astronomer Carl Sagan, and many others, believed that other human-like civilisations must exist, and that we could communicate with them. But sceptics are not convinced, arguing the lack of evidence for such civilisations suggests they are exceedingly rare.
But if other human-like civilisations are unlikely to exist, could there exist other forms of life – perhaps better suited than us to spread in the cosmos? And would it be possible for such lifeforms to communicate with each other (non-human Seti)? Our new study, published in Biosystems, suggests it would. Microbes, such as bacteria, may be rulers of the cosmic life – and they are a lot more intelligent than we give them credit for. Indeed, we show how microbes could mimic the Seti programme without human interference.
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