“Our galaxy may be teeming with technologically active life or populated by a single very long-lived civilization. In either case, we should be incredibly lucky to get a detection one day,” wrote physicist Claudio Grimaldi in an email to The Daily Galaxy about the possibility of there being a fundamental flaw in why we have not received a signal from an advanced alien civilization.
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The first-ever observations of merging binary stars stunned the world’s astronomy community, but not quite as stunning as the first-ever signal from extraterrestrial life will be. GW170817 is the name given to the gravitational wave signal seen by the LIGO and Virgo detectors on 17 August 2017. Lasting for about 100 seconds, the signal was produced by the merger of the two neutron stars. The observation was then confirmed – the first time this has happened for gravitational waves – by observations with light waves.