One of the most fascinating yet mysterious facts about space exploration is the existence of extraterrestrial life. There is always a big debate about the existence of such life, but overall astronomers believe that there is life out there that might not be 100% human-like, but some sort of biological life has to exist. Now, if this life is intelligent or not is another question.
A recent study published in the Journal of Astrobiology by Prof. Irina Romanovskaya from the Houston Community College System, Houston, TX, USA provides insight and ideas about the search for this kind of life in space. She suggests that extraterrestrial life might travel by riding free-floating planets for large populations who are looking to migrate or explore space. This could also serve as an experiment to exchange biological species or even to establish their colonies e.g., setting up a new home if there is a threat to the existing planet.
Romanovskaya also discusses how certain people could potentially travel to new destinations. The main concern about light sources could be solved by using controlled nuclear fusion. Once they are close to their destination planet, they could transfer themselves to use Oort-cloud objects to carry them inwards.
The author proposes to use techno signatures, i.e., electromagnetic emissions produced by extraterrestrial life to search for them. However, if astronomers detect the signal but not the planet (which is very likely because of no emission from the planet itself), they could misinterpret their findings. In August 1977, the famous Wow! signal was detected from Sagittarius but it was never repeated. This is still an unsolved mystery, and a lot of new theories get published/discussed every now and then. Romanovskaya discusses that this kind of travel might have happened in the past near us, but we obviously missed these signals. In nutshell, the author suggests that this kind of search should be part of our search for intelligent life in the Universe which is at the forefront of the Search for the Extraterrestrial Intelligence SETI mission.
Watch the video below to learn how SETI searches for such life forms.