“Young people in the audience, I think there's a really good chance you're going to see this happen,” said Seth Shostak of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute at the SETIcon Conference in California over the weekend, according to Space
Shostak assured the young people by basing his estimation on the Drake Equation, which calculates the number of alien civilizations that we could communicate with. It was developed by Frank Drake.
The equation takes into account numerous factors, including percentage of developed intelligent life, fraction of stars that have planets, fraction of planets that are habitable and many others.
Prominent science figures have, in the past, provided estimates, such as Carl Sagan who put the number at one million, Isaac Asimov said the number was 670,000 and Drake calculated it to be 10,000.
Shostak said by the year 2015, SETI will be able to use the Alien Telescope Array, which is a network of radio communication signal dishes that is currently under construction and will be able to scan hundreds of thousands of stars that contain signs of extraterrestrial.
However, the senior astronomer warned that it could take a lot of time to interpret what a possible extraterrestrial communication is telling planet Earth: “We could give our digital television signals to the Neanderthals, and they'll never figure it out. And they're not stupid.”
Please note: The above video is what a potential alien radio communication could sound like.