According to the Independent’s report, the possibility that messages sent from NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN) to one of the agency’s space exploration probes could be intercepted by an advanced alien civilization were examined. This research has been published as a preprint in the accessible archive arXiv and has not yet been peer-reviewed.
Scientists hoped to expand on an earlier study that detected stars outside our solar system that these probes, excluding New Horizons, would pass through in the next few million years.
Voyager 1, Voyager 2, Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11 and New Horizons are among those spacecraft, according to researchers from the University of California’s Berkeley and Los Angeles (UCLA) campuses.
The Year the Signals Will Arrive and the Year To Expect Possible Return Message
Researchers then extended this analysis to determine which stars outside the solar system would encounter signal transmissions traveling at the speed of light from Earth to these interstellar spacecraft, the Independent reported.
The research listed the identities and characteristics of these stars, their distance from Earth, the year the transmitted signals would likely contact them, and the year we would expect a return message.
In the study, it was stated that the planets surrounding these stars will also encounter the messages of the spacecraft. Based on this, scientists predicted when potentially intelligent alien civilizations around these stars could possibly intercept these messages from Earth, and when we might hear a response, provided they respond immediately.
The Number of Stars That Can Be Encountered Increased
The total number of such stars detected by scientists went from a very low figure to 2100 and then increased at an ever-increasing rate.
“This indicates that most of the stars encountered are at relatively greater distances from Earth because it takes longer for DSN’s transmissions to encounter them. This increase in contacted stars over time is consistent with the increased volume covered by transmissions over time,” the researchers explained in the study.
“There Are 5 Stars We Expect to Return in the 21st Century”
“Our results include a total of 5 stars for which we can expect bounce messages in the 21st century, and a total of 7 stars for which we can expect bounce messages within the next 100 years,” Reilly Derrick, co-author of the study, told Universe Today.
While the 5 stars that scientists expect a potential response to by the end of this century are located 50 light-years from Earth, the other two stars that may receive a response within the next 100 years are 73 light-years from our planet.