Will research science’s search for little green men never end? Not if Arizona State University has anything to say about it. A pair of research technicians from the college’s BEYOND Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science have recently published a proposal in which they suggest a new means of searching for extraterrestrial civilizations who may have made pit stops on the Earth’s moon.
The proposal, published in the online scientific journal Acta Astronautica, suggests that the government launch a photographic project that would inspect the face of the moon for signs of visits by extraterrestrials. Arguing that artifacts left behind by aliens would be preserved for hundreds of millions of years on the moon’s airless surface, the pair of researchers are suggesting that several hundreds of thousands of photographs be taken, in search of detritus that might have been abandoned by space travelers from other planets.
Why no previous scientist appears to have come up with this no-brainer isn’t apparent, but, judging from the early excitement over the paper (which was picked up by numerous online news sites and became an above-the-fold feature in the United Kingdom’s Guardian), no one has.
“Although there is only a tiny probability that alien technology would have left traces on the moon in the form of an artifact or surface modification of lunar features,” the pair write in their paper, “this location has the virtue of being close, and of preserving traces for an immense duration.”
What’s more, they argue, laypeople can help out NASA by pitching in to scrutinize photographs themselves. The giant pile of intergalactic snapshots would be made available via the Internet to all interested parties. And that’s what we like best about this story: The thought of millions of UFO fanatics, perched in front of their laptops, scouring the face of the moon in search of eons-old garbage left behind by vacationing Martians.