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Alien-hunting telescope could be ready in 5 years

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An artist's rendering of what the proposed Colossus alien-seeking telescope would look like.The Colossus Consortium

If the truth is out there, Colossus may find it.

It would likely take a mega-telescope to locate aliens, which may be found by the heat their civilizations give off, astronomers say, according to Space.com.

Enter: Colossus.

The proposed alien hunter telescope would cost $1 billion and use thin mirrors that could be enough to spot cities or other signs of alien life as far as 60 to 70 light years from Earth, the site reported.

"If we had an investor come and say 'Look, here are the resources you need,' we could have the telescope built within five years," said Jeff Kuhn, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy, who is on the proposal team.

In the four-decades long search for extraterrestrial life, nothing definitive has been found. Still, Space.com reports, there have been a few interesting moments, like in 1977 when the so-called “Wow!” signal was heard. It was never repeated.

The system of seeking beamed signals can present its own challenges, and some experts, like Stephen Hawking, say humans should be very careful about alerting possibly more advanced civilizations to their existence.

But Colossus sidesteps any worries, Kuhn told Space.com, because the telescope is a passive receiver that allows astronomers to seek out aliens without alerting them to the search.

Click for more from Space.com