Researchers looking for signals from technologically advanced aliens pick up countless strange pings—but so far, nothing has convinced them that a message really came from aliens.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of overblown media headlines about potential alien detections. So a team of researchers pursuing the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, or SETI, has decided to revive a scale meant to ground these detections in reality. They shared their scale, called Rio 2.0, in a new paper that takes aim at SETI researchers and the media for irresponsible coverage of potential detections.
“It’s absolutely crucial that when we talk about something so hugely significant as the discovery of intelligent life beyond the Earth, we do it clearly and carefully,” lead author Duncan Forgan, a SETI scientist at the University of St Andrews in the U.K., said in a statement from the SETI Institute. “Having Rio 2.0 allows us to rank a signal quickly in a way that the general public can easily understand, and helps us keep their trust in a world filled with fake news.” [13 Ways to Hunt Intelligent Aliens]
The new study builds on a similar effort, called the Rio Scale, which was developed in 2000 and was presented at the 51st International Astronautical Congress held in Rio de Janeiro the next year. But since the original scale was developed, SETI scientists have decided that the evaluation needed some updating, particularly given the breakneck pace of online media.To read more, click here.