The US House of Representatives has proposed to aid NASA’s search for signs of life in the cold depths of space, amounting around £7.3million ($10million).
The search of “technosignitures” from potentially developed and intelligent species will likely get two years of funding.
It would include the search for radio waves, which an intelligent alien civilisation could be intentionally blasting into space as what humans have been doing in modern times.
In 25 years of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), it is the first time the Congress is planning to give it proper funds.
However, the bill is far from a done deal, warned the renowned astronomer and former director of SETI Institute Dr Jill Tarter.
She said that it is not an appropriation bill but an authorisation bill. She explained that if ever it passes, it is up to the appropriators whether they provide any SETI funding in their bill or not. However, she added that if they do provide, that would be something big.
Detection of artificially created radio waves has generally been the focus of the search for advanced life outside our solar system.
However, a brand new approach in the search for extraterrestrials could be born with a revision of mission statement of SETI.
SETI could use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to scan the noise to avoid misleading and false positive signals.
Dr Tarter pointed out that UFO hunters usually look for signs of technology and intelligence in space that are the same with humanity.
But she argued the technosignatures search is a limited approach because ET language, technology and intelligence appear in all forms and shapes.
NASA started the SETI programme to build the instruments needed to scan the space for signs of ET life.
However, Nevada Senator Richard Bryan shut down the SETI initiative a year later.
Now, the Congress bill promises a new chapter for SETI, according to Dr Tarter.
She stated that the bill would be a sea-change in Congressional attitude it if passes since Senator Bryan terminated the SETI program of NASA in 1993, which was the High-Resolution Microwave Survey.
SETI would be able to build new instrumentation and collect data globally with the sizeable budget.
Dr Tarter added that proper funding would attract the best in the field from different parts of the world and commit to the long-term search that might be necessary for success.