Astronomers at Alconbury are searching for signs of alien life in space

Astronomers in Alconbury are searching for alien life. 

Astronomers in Alconbury are searching for alien life. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Astronomers at Alconbury plan to listen for noise made by "alien factories" using the first UK telescope dedicated to the search for extra-terrestrials.  

The EAAROCIBO project – launched by a group of scientists and businessmen, aims to ditch the traditional method of searching for ET that has so far failed to detect interstellar radio transmissions.  

Unlike traditional searches, EAAROCIBO’s ground-based telescope will focus on a particular patch of space with the largest number of stars, a concept similar to that used by the orbiting Kepler Telescope in its search for extra-solar planets.  

The first funding stage is to build a scale working model 1013 North Gate Alconbury Airfield.

Jason Williams, managing director of the East Anglian Astrophysical Research organisation (EAARO) said: “EAAROCIBO will be the first dedicated SETI instrument of its kind ever to be built in the UK.  

“Our novel research strategy and innovative approach to combining classic and cutting-edge technologies will give us a refreshing new perspective in this exciting field of research.” 

The new project is named after the iconic space telescope at Arecibo in Puerto Rico that featured in the 1997 movie Contact, starring Jodie Foster. 

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Jason Williams and Jeff Lashley of the East Anglian Astrophysical Research organisation (EAARO) have a new search concept, based on an idea by British-born physicist Professor Paul Davies. 

Professor Davies said: “I’m delighted that EAARO will be dedicated to this new approach to SETI. 

“While all searches are welcome, what the subject really needs is some innovative thinking. “Under Jason Williams’ leadership, the EAARO project will serve as an inspirational trailblazer for SETI 2.0.” 

60 years ago, Frank Drake used the 85-foot antenna at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank in West Virginia to search for extra-terrestrial intelligence.  

This was humanity’s first attempt to detect interstellar radio transmissions.  

Scientists say that the search for ET is a numbers game and the more you look the greater the chances of you finding evidence for their existence 

EAARO are looking at two possible locations for siting the telescope. 

The first is near Bodmin in Cornwall, and the second option is in North Yorkshire on the edge of the National Park.  

Filming started last month for a documentary that will be used as a resource for crowd funding.  

To find out more visit: www.eaaro.org.uk 

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