Héctor Socas has developed a method that allows for the detection of sentient alien life-forms in distant systems. According to him humanity is on the verge of finding such life, using telescopes, capable of analyzing the atmosphere of distant planets.
"Chemical compounds from atmosphere can possess elements, that we call ‘biomarkers,' which allow us to almost unmistakably detect if the planet is inhabited," Socas said.
He notes though that finding alien life-forms is not the hard part. It's finding sentient one that is really difficult. Normally, scientists look for alien radio signals or remnants of advanced technologies in other solar systems, but this method has yielded no results so far. Socas suggests looking for planets with lots of artificial satellites orbiting it.
"I always compare the search for alien life-forms with looking for a needle in a haystack. In addition to the image, you do not really know what color or form this needle has. You're not even sure if it's there. But that is the exact reason to use all the methods available," Socas said.
He admitted though that finding humanity itself using his methods with the existing level of technologies would prove difficult, as our signals are extremely weak to be detected from other solar systems. But scientist also added that at the current rate of satellite deployment, we will become detectable by the year 2200.
At the same time, scientists are at odds as to whether we should make ourselves detectable to alien life-forms and send signals to them. Socas is confident that this problem is not for the scientists to decide, but rather for the whole of humanity, possibly via a referendum.