Breakthrough Listen, an initiative dedicated to finding signs of intelligent life on other planets, announced a new collaboration with scientists from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) at the International Astronautical Congress in Washington DC.
The joint effort with TESS will expand Breakthrough Listen’s target list (adding over 1,000 “objects of interest” identified by TESS), according to SETI.org. This collaboration will also provide more meaningful statistics in the event of non-detections.
This new collaboration also aims to add validity to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Jill Tarter, Chair Emeritus for SETI Research at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute in California, said they have spent a lot of time trying to distance themselves from pseudoscience and UFOs. “We’ve done the scientific exploration that we’re engaged in in a way that scientists in other disciplines do their work, and we published the papers and we’ve gone through the peer reviews, and we built interesting instrumentation. So I think that it is far more credible today than it once was,” she said according to The South African.
TESS will observe over 85% of the sky and is predicted to find as many as 10,000 new planets. Also, because TESS only sees planets that pass in front of their host star as viewed from Earth, all the planetary systems it detects will be edge-on, which means the chance of detecting communications from extraterrestrial transmitters is heightened.