It appears that Earth’s so called co-orbitals, or space objects that orbit the sun at about the same distance as our planet, might house advanced alien surveillance equipment that was set there millions of years ago to monitor life here, Live Science reports.
According to the media outlet, if the hypothesis postulated by physicist and independent SETI researcher James Benford is correct, those space objects might be "a way to detect alien activity that occurred before humans even evolved, much less turned their attention toward the stars".
"They're basically going around the sun at the same rate the Earth is, and they're very nearby," Benford said.
The scientist also noted that while the moon might appear to be a better choice for an alien “listening post”, any given point on its surface is "in darkness for two weeks at a time" while the probe would require the ability to store energy "until it could charge in the sun again".
Commenting on this theory, Paul Davies, physicist and astrobiologist at Arizona State University, also remarked that while the probability of alien spy tech actually being on one of those space rocks is "obviously extremely unlikely", it wouldn’t hurt to investigate them "if it costs very little to go take a look".
"Even if we don't find E.T., we might find something of interest", he said.
Now, Benford advocates using optical and radio telescopes to study the co-orbitals, along with pinging them with planetary radar, adding that sending a spacecraft to one of these objects could be relatively cheap and easy.
"If we don't find anything, that means no one has come to look at the life of Earth for over billions of years. That is a big surprise, a stunning thing", he noted.