For years researchers have used radio to try and detect extraterrestrial life - but now scientists have turned to a laser in the hope of finding aliens.
Last year, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) announced a program called LaserSETI to detect potential laser pulses originating from outside the solar system.
In order to achieve this goal, though, SETI needed to build a network of instruments for monitoring the entire night sky.
And in late December 2021, the scientists finally finished installing a second device that features an expensive lens-camera-computer combo at Haleakala Observatory, located on a mountaintop in Maui, Hawaii.
This new instrument is unprecedented when it comes to the search for alien life, as for seven decades researchers have relied mostly on stray radio waves that can only scan just a tiny fraction of the sky (and not for a long time, either).
"Messaging by light has a fundamental advantage over radio in that it can, in principle, convey far more bits per second – typically a half-million times as many," SETI researchers wrote in an official statement.
"This increased bandwidth is a characteristic that would make lasers useful for communicating with off-world colonies, for example," the officials added.
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