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A sci-fi imagining of an alien civilization -- where are the intelligent aliens of sci-fact? | Corbis
Tech

13 Ways to Hunt Intelligent Aliens

We have yet to detect a signal from an alien civilization -- so scientists are thinking up novel (and often extreme) ways we may make first contact.

March 8, 2013
5:30 PM EST
17 percent of the stars surveyed by NASA's Kepler space telescope have Earth-sized worlds in orbit, underlining the preponderance of small exoplanets in our galaxy. | David A. Aguilar (CfA)
The radio signal detected by the 100-meter Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia while scanning the exoplanetary candidate KOI 817. This is the kind of signal SETI scientists would expect to find if an alien civilization is transmitting. | UC Berkeley/SETI
Apollo footprints and equipment are still visible on the lunar surface. | NASA
NASA's Mars Phoenix lander as seen from orbit. | NASA/JPL-Caltech
Artist's impression of HP 56948. | ESO
Transits of artificial shapes across the face of stars can reveal their shape to the Kepler space telescope. | Luc F. A. Arnold/Observatoire de Haute-Provence in Paris
The spiral galaxy M51 -- see any bubbles of darkness? | NASA, ESA
Asteroids in orbit around a star -- could alien mining activities be detected? | NASA
Black holes. To power spaceships. Why not? | NASA
Any beacons out there? | ESO
A female bottlenose dolphin at the U.S Navy's Marine Mammal Research Program. | Wikimedia Commons
Quiet galaxy... green aliens? | NASA
"Surf's up dude! Ah, no. It's an alien invasion." | Columbia Pictures