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Detecting Alien Life Will Likely Be a Protracted Process, Not a Eureka Moment

Scientific discovery most often comes through incremental progress rather than epiphanies, and there’s no reason to suggest discovering alien intelligence will be different.

Published On 07/25/2017
6:24 PM EDT
W W ould it be easy to determine if the source of a mysterious radio signal was aliens? Probably not. A new paper argues that contact with extraterrestrials will likely be discovered through a prolonged, incremental process rather than an instantaneous eureka-like moment. Eureka — what the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes allegedly said when he cracked a tough science problem about water displacement — tends to be the exception in science rather than the rule.