The alien detection scale, popularly known as the Rio scale has been revised and updated by a team of researchers from the University of St Andrews and the SETI Institute.
According to a new study published in the International Journal of Astrobiology, scientists have revamped the standard tool used to classify signals that could have extraterrestrial origins, the news scale, reports SETI, has been designed with the modern world in mind - one where constant coverage of world news and social media play an important part.
The study seeks to answer a few fundamental questions -- What will be the consequences for the human race if we encounter extraterrestrial intelligence? And, if you were to see a story about aliens, how excited should you really be?
SETI says that there are several dubious signals reported as 'aliens' in recent times, so getting to know the actual truth about them is becoming increasingly difficult, and this is why an updated Rio Scale is required.
Rio Scale was first developed in 2001 and it has since been used by astronomers looking for extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) as a way to effectively communicate this news to the public. It also explains 'how excited' the general public should really be about what astronomers have found.
The Scale also helps measure the real-world consequences, if any, for humanity if the signal is actually from ETI or aliens. Another factor that the Rio Scale measures is the probability that the signal itself is really from alien life and not something that is caused by natural phenomena or even human-made noise.
The scale narrows the news and funnels the factors down to a single numerical value between zero and ten. This is intended to give the general populace a quick way to understand just how important, or factual the news actually is, says SETI.
Jill Tarter, co-founder of the SETI Institute, in the release spoke about the whole world knowing about the Richter Scale for quantifying the severity of an earthquake and how that number is reported immediately following a quake and following it, a refined, more data based reports are consolidated.
Similarly, the SETI community is attempting to create a scale that can accompany reports of any claims of the detection of extraterrestrial intelligence and be refined over time as more data become available, she said.
"This scale should convey both the significance and credibility of the claimed detection. Rio 2.0 is an attempt to update the scale to make it more useful and compatible with current modes of information dissemination, as well as providing means for the public to become familiar with the scale."
The new study was led by Dr. Duncan Forgan at the University's Centre for Exoplanet Science, and it highlights how news media has changed over the years, as well as the rapid growth of 24-hour news as well as the massively influential landscape that is social media.
This, along with increased efforts to detect ETI by several researchers around the world, SETI says that the Rio Scale is needed now, more than ever.
The new Rio Scale has now been submitted to the International Academy of Astronautics Permanent Committee on SETI for official ratification.