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Scientists want volunteers to help search for aliens on the moon

Scientists suggest soliciting the public’s help to search for traces of extraterrestrial life on the moon.

Image of the moon from the Galileo spacecraft. (Credit: USGS)

The SETI Institute has been searching for signs of extraterrestrial life for more than fifty years, but their search has been rather passive, scanning the skies for alien radio signals. Astrobiologist Paul Davies and research technician Robert Wagner think a more active search is a better method. They recently published a scientific paper online in the journal Acta Astronautica that calls for the search of alien artifacts on the moon. The two Arizona State University scientists suggest that alien life may have “left traces on the moon in the form of an artifact or surface modification of lunar features,” according to the Daily Mail.

The abstract for this scientific paper states:

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has a low probability of success, but it would have a high impact if successful. Therefore it makes sense to widen the search as much as possible within the confines of the modest budget and limited resources currently available. To date, SETI has been dominated by the paradigm of seeking deliberately beamed radio messages.

Paul Davies (credit: ASU)
To search for signs of extraterrestrial life on the moon, the scientists suggest focusing attention on images captured by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). According to The Guardian, “NASA has made more than 340,000 LRO images public, but that figure is expected to reach one million by the time the orbiting probe has mapped the whole lunar surface.” The ASU scientists explain, “From these numbers, it is obvious that a manual search by a small team is hopeless,” which is why they suggest calling on “amateur enthusiasts” to assist with the process of scanning the LRO images for potential alien artifacts.

This isn’t the first time that Davies has suggested taking a different approach to searching for extraterrestrial signs. In October 2011, Astrobiology Magazine reported how Davies wants scientists to broaden the search for extraterrestrial life by searching Earth for possible “footprints” left behind by extraterrestrial visitors.

A recent article in the Huffington Post accurately stated, “Despite being well studied, Earth’s closest neighbor remains an enigma.”

What do you think of the proposal by Davies and Wagner? Is it a good idea to enlist the help of “amateur enthusiasts”? Do you think extraterrestrials were ever on the moon? Are they still there? Share your thoughts on the Open Minds Facebook page.

Jason McClellan

Jason McClellan is a UFO journalist and the producer/co-host of the web series Spacing Out! He is also the web content manager and staff writer for, and a co-organizer and technical producer of the International UFO Congress. As a founding member of Open Minds, Jason served as a writer and editor for the now defunct Open Minds magazine. He has appeared on Syfy, NatGeo, and, most recently, he co-starred on H2's Hangar 1: The UFO Files. ------ Follow Jason on Twitter @acecentric and subscribe to Jason's updates on Facebook.

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