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The sad unplugging of the Allen Telescope Array due to lack of funding brings a screeching halt, at least temporarily, to the most ambitious search for "hello" radio transmissions from E.T.

But perhaps it's time to simply think far outside of the box regarding our preconceptions of how to find extraterrestrial civilizations, says Clement Vidal of the Evolution, Complexity and Cognition group at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. And, the most advanced aliens may be the easiest to find.

In a recent paper, he emphasizes that we have to look at variety of search strategies in solving the mystery of our cosmic loneliness. That is, if we are satisfied with simply finding E.T. and not communicating with it.

Vidal's reasoning: The universe is so old there have to be far-advanced civilizations out there, billions of years more evolved than us. They have to be doing super-human engineering feats that are recognizable across intergalactic space. "Super-human" might also mean that the most advanced life forms could very likely post-biological. They have evolved far beyond being creatures of flesh and blood -- as described in Arthur C. Clarke's "2001:A Space Odyssey."

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Category: Science