PUBLISHED: 08:49, Mon, Sep 7, 2020 | UPDATED: 08:49, Mon, Sep 7, 2020
The analytical breakthrough offers new hope for intercepting alien signals by expanding the number of Milky Way stars analysed. In a report published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, researchers reexamined existing data to expand their search from about 1,400 stars to more than 280,000. The drastic increase also placed new limits on distant stars where more powerful radio transmitters would be needed.
The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) primarily involves scanning space with radio waves as the only effective means of communication.
Unfortunately, this means planets were simple and undeveloped life might exist are not part of the equation.
And the newly published report suggests less than 0.04 percent of stellar systems have the potential to host a civilisation with technology equalling 21st century Earth.
SETI projects such as Breakthrough Listen in the US have invested more than £75million ($100million) into the hunt for alien signals.
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Alien life: Researchers have expanded the number of stars analysed for alien signals (Image: GETTY)
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The Manchester researchers, led by Masters student Bart Wlodarczyk-Sroka and his advisor Professor Michael Garrett, examined a star catalogued produced by the European Space Agency's (ESA) Gaia spacecraft.
The catalogue measured the distances to more than a billion stars.
The researchers then calculated the limits on the prevalence of artificial radio transmitters, dubbed technosignatures, around stars within the radio telescope's fields of view.
They then selected stars at farther distances of up to 33,000 light-years than the original selection.
In the late 20th century, scientists converged upon the basic idea of