Thanks to some megabucks from Microsoft founder Paul Allen there’s a new telescope on the block and it will soon be bigger and better at spotting aliens than anything to date. Here is the BBC story.
I would argue that alien life is almost a certainty, but *finding it* is not at all certain since the distances to other systems are so great that even if there is intelligent life on planets of our “next door neighbor” star, Proxima Centauri, and even if they are beaming some TV shows or data in our direction, it would take about 4.5 years for us to get the signal and another 4.5 to send one back. Now THAT is lag time in a conversation.
Think how hard it would be to buy and sell stuff with alien dudes that were, say, 50 light years distant. The ad would have to read “If you act right NOW on our special offer, you might get it just before you DIE of old age. Only $9.95 and supplies are limited”.
But if the new scope finds more life perhaps they will have invented technologies we can only dream of, or more likely and hopefully they’ll have intelligence extending capabilities that we could copy. Kurzweil’s singularity promises immortality, but it’s best not to hold your breath on that one quite yet.