aggregating definitive insights delivering intelligent understanding generating quantitative understanding assembling quantitative futures composing contingent insights mapping the future assembling accurate predictions calculating probable understanding modeling quantitative insights generating definitive insights crowdsourcing quantitative forecasts delivering quantitative insights delivering quantitative futures delivering quantitative futures

Question

Metaculus Help: Spread the word

If you like Metaculus, tell your friends! Share this question via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.

Will the Allen Telescope Array discover anything in its SETI search of red dwarf stars over the next two years?

In April 2016, the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute announced that its Allen Telescope Array would focus on surveying more than 20,000 red dwarf stars for signs of intelligent life over the next two years.

SETI's Allen Telescope Array (ATA), in the mountains of Northern California, is an array of 42 antennas that, together, can achieve the astronomical observing power of much larger antenna dishes. Since its completion in 2007, the ATA has been listening to the skies for clear, repeating radio signals at frequencies that might indicate broadcasts by an intelligent civilization. From 2009-2015, the ATA focused on known extrasolar planets, but found no signals that met the criteria for alien life.

Red dwarf stars had previously been dismissed as SETI targets because their chances for hosting habitable planets were thought to be dim. But red dwarves are abundant in the galaxy, and some are closer to the earth than more sun-like stars, meaning that signals from close red dwarves (such as Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to our Sun) would be stronger and clearer. As many as one-half of red dwarves may hold planets in the so-called "habitable zone." Research into such possible planets (which would likely be locked with one side facing the star at all times and the other side in eternal night) suggest that oceans and atmospheres could move enough heat around to allow life to develop and thrive. Another plus: red dwarves are old stars, allowing life more time to develop intelligence and technology.

By focusing on a certain star type, astronomers will gather a large dataset on red dwarves, possibly uncovering new insights about the star type that will be useful to astronomers, even if a signal of alien life is not found.

Will the Allen Telescope Array's survey of red dwarf stars yield valuable scientific information, whether regarding ET life or just the physics of red dwarf stars (or even some other radio sources serendipidously observed)?

For this question to resolve as positive, three papers must appear on arXiv.org reporting Allen Telescope Array discoveries regarding red dwarf stars on or before April 1, 2019. More specifically they must have both "Allen Telescope" and "Red dwarf/ves" or "K/M dwarf/ves" in the abstract. At least one of these must arguably report some type of scientific advance, not just null results. (The date is one year after the survey has concluded, to allow time for data analysis and manuscript preparation.)

{{qctrl.predictionString()}}

Metaculus help: Predicting

Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.

The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available. With tachyons you'll even be able to go back in time and backdate your prediction to maximize your points.

The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.

This question is not yet open for predictions.

Thanks for predicting!

Your prediction has been recorded anonymously.

Want to track your predictions, earn points, and hone your forecasting skills? Create an account today!

Track your predictions
Continue exploring the site

Community Stats

Metaculus help: Community Stats

Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.

When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.