American scientists want to enlist online volunteers to identify signs of alien life in moon images collected by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).
Physicists Paul Davies and Robert Wagner of Arizona State University believe there may be signs of extra terrestrial life in the form of messages, scientific instruments, waste or evidence of mining that could be spotted by human telescopes and orbiting spacecraft.
In their paper published online in the journal Acta Astronautica, the pair wrote: “Although there is only a tiny probability that alien technology would have left traces on the moon in the form of an artefact or surface modification of lunar features, this location has the virtue of being close, and of preserving traces for an immense duration.
"If it costs little to scan data for signs of intelligent manipulation, little is lost in doing so, even though the probability of detecting alien technology at work may be exceedingly low.”
“The lunar environment could preserve artefacts for millions of years.”
The LRO has been taking pictures of the moon’s surface since 2009, with more than 340,000 images collected so far.
According to Davies and Wagner, it would be impossible for one team to examine the ever-growing number of images, hence their suggestion to involve amateur enthusiasts in what they claim would make “an excellent educational project”.
They also suggest building computer software that could recognise irregularities on the moon’s surface.
The proposals would complement other scientific hunts for alien life, including the Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), research which uses data from radiotelescopes.