The encounter is closer than ever.

Humanity may be able to contact an alien race as early as 2029, according to a recent analysis of deep space radio waves sent from Earth.

Researchers from the University of California’s Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses compiled a list of stars and planets that are bound to encounter Earth’s signals within the next century while also deducing that the first return message could come as soon as six years from now.

“This is a famous idea from Carl Sagan, who used it as a plot theme in the movie ‘Contact,’” lead researcher Howard Isaacson, a UC Berkeley astronomer, told

Researchers have been using physics laws to determine how quickly signals blared from NASA’s Deep Space Network could be sent back, producing several key insights about travel time.

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