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Scientists are reviving 'Scale for Richter' for aliens

Thanks to the scale you immediately know how seriously you should take stories about aliens.

What exactly are the consequences for humanity when we encounter extraterrestrial intelligence? And if you see a story about aliens on TV or on the internet, how enthusiastic should you be? In recent years, many dubious signals have been reported that have been dismissed as signals from extraterrestrials. To introduce this more clearly, researchers reintroduced the 'Scale for Richter' for aliens in a new study. A tool for the ranking of potential signals from extraterrestrial life, but for the general public.

The hunt for Aliens

Want to know more about the search for extraterrestrial life? Read more about it here

Rio Scale
In 2001 this Richter Scale was already developed and was given the name Rio Scale. It is a tool that astronomers use in their search for extraterrestrial life and helps the public determine how seriously they should take observed signals. It also measures the chance that a signal actually comes from an alien, and is not, for example, a natural phenomenon or a signal made by people. Finally, the Rio Scale also measures the consequences for people when the signal really appears to come from extraterrestrials. It gives a score between 0 and 10, so that the public can see at a glance how important a signal really is. And researchers have now made a number of adjustments. The new scale is called Rio 2.0 and should be more useful in the current way of information dissemination.

The 'Richter Scale' for aliens. Credit: Seti Institute

"The whole world knows the Richter Scale to indicate the power of an earthquake. This is immediately reported and then refined, "says researcher Jill Tarter. "With the Rio 2.0, we want to do the same. The scale can help decide whether signals really come from extraterrestrials and can be refined as more data becomes available. "It thus reflects both the importance and the credibility of a signal.

The search for extraterrestrial life is this moment bigger than ever before. That, in combination with the changing media, the growth of 24 hours news and social media, the researchers find it extremely important to communicate clearly to the public. That is why they think that Rio 2.0 is desperately needed to provide truthful information to the general public. "It is crucial that when we talk about something as important as the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence, we do it clearly and carefully," concludes Dr. Duncan Forgan. "With Rio 2.0 we can quickly arrange a signal in a way that is easy to understand for the general public and helps them gain their trust in a world where fake news is the order of the day."

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