Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
Two scientists summarize the challenge for finding alien life in the universe.
Look for high amounts of oxygen and mid-infrared energy, the second of which has already produced some candidates.
A recent large survey by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite did identify five red spiral galaxies whose combination of high MIR and low near-ultraviolet luminosities are inconsistent with simple expectations from high rates of star formation. A conventional explanation for these observations, such as the presence of large amounts of internal dust, has not been ruled out, however. Such peculiar objects deserve follow-up observations before we explore whether they might represent the signatures of galaxy-dominating species.
The article is very thoughtful, however, and outlines in detail the issues and problems the research faces. We might, in a few decades, have the capability to answer this question, but then, the aliens might be alien enough to still be undetectable. Or they might not exist at all.