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What activities have been carried out in the investigation?

And what are the main findings?

This talk is dedicated to discuss searches of extraterrestrial probes and the context it plays in astronomy research as well as Searches for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). It will be discussed the relevance of this research to that of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. In the first half of the lecture, it will be summarized what astronomers currently know (or think) about the prospects for life to exist in the Universe. In the second half, it will introduce the Vanishing & Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations (VASCO) project and it’s searches for unusual astrophysical transients, vanishing stars, interstellar communication lasers and extraterrestrial probes.

It will present VASCO’s past and ongoing efforts to search for extraterrestrial probes near the Earth. I will also present a new project, EXOPROBE, recently launched in collaboration with SpaceLaserAwareness, aiming to detect, validate and accurately localize an ET probe and, finally, bring it down to the Earth.


Beatriz Villarroel is a researcher at the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics, Stockholm (Sweden). She obtained her PhD in astronomy from Uppsala University in 2017, working on active galactic nuclei and quasars. After finishing her PhD studies, she traveled to ETH Zurich for a postdoc, followed by an international postdoc between 2018 – 2022, shared between Nordita and Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias in Tenerife. In 2012, right before starting her PhD studies, she obtained a Crafoord stipend for young researchers from the Royal Academy of Sciences in Sweden. In 2021, she was one of two national prizewinners of the L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science in Sweden, thanks to her work with the Vanishing & Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations (VASCO) project. In 2022, she obtained the L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science “International Rising Talents” prize in a ceremony at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Beatriz has frequently been interviewed by various popular science media as well as non-science journals, e.g., Popular Science, SuperCosmos, New Scientists and Femina. In her free time, Beatriz enjoys playing violin and chamber music as an amateur musician, in particular music by composers such as Guillaume Lekeu, Johannes Brahms, Richard Strauss or L. van Beethoven.

The VASCO project searches for rare astrophysical transient events as well as technosignatures from extraterrestrial civilisations in astronomical data taken over 70 years. Technosignatures of interest are vanishing stars, interstellar communication lasers and extraterrestrial probes in our Solar System. The project has a citizen science component, done in collaboration with citizen scientists mainly in Spain, Nigeria and Algeria.

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