SETI's wide-range telescope is powered up and trained on KIC 8462852—the curious star in the North Hemisphere that's emitting an odd light pattern. The Allen Telescope Array, located a few hundred miles northeast of San Francisco, is actively hunting for alien signals coming from the star's general area, Space.com reports, based on theories from some astronomers that the star's dimming events over the past few years could be from structures built by an extraterrestrial civilization.
Not that chances are stellar that an ET find is right around the corner. "History suggests we're going to find an explanation for this that doesn't involve Klingons," a senior SETI astronomer tells Space.com. Still, as Anders Sandberg frames it in Gizmodo, it's a mission worth undertaking. "If there is no intelligent life in space it means either that we are very lucky—or that intelligent species die out fast," he writes. "But if there is [or was] another technological civilization, it would be immensely reassuring: We would know intelligent life can survive for at least some sizable time." (Read more aliens stories.)