Scientists from Arizona State University are proposing that closely examining high resolution photographs of the moon, retrieved by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), may reveal "incontrovertible signatures of non-human technology." They argue that such a project is worthwhile and could be accomplished with a small budget.
ASU's Dr. Paul Davies and undergraduate student, Robert Wagner, submitted their paper, "Searching for alien artifacts on the moon", to Acta Astronautica, the official journal of the International Academy of Astronautics. In the abstract they state that the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has a low probability of success, and should broaden their search from simply listening for extraterrestrial radio signals. They say, "Alien civilizations may have sent probes to our region of the galaxy."
To hunt for these tell-tale signs of alien visitation, they suggest that a project be set up to carefully scrutinize the high resolution pictures being captured by the LRO. In order to save money, they suggest the job could be outsourced to the general public, similar to the SETI@home and Galaxy Zoo projects. In other words, once the pictures are released to the public, citizens could report anomalies to scientists for examination. According to the Guardian, the LRO has already taken over 340,000 images and is expected to have taken one million by the time it is finished.
Another reason the scientists believe the moon is a good place to look for signs of alien technology is that "the lunar environment could preserve artifacts for millions of years." So if aliens stopped off at the moon and left behind debris or footprints, because of the environment on the moon, the remnants would still be visible even if that visit was hundreds of thousands of years ago.
A popular theory amongst those who believe aliens have already visited our solar system is that there is evidence of alien technology in ancient architecture, such as the pyramids in Egypt, the Nazca lines in Peru, or Stonehenge in England. This theory has been popularized recently on the History channel's television show, Ancient Aliens. Filmmaker Ridley Scott says he also suspects that extraterrestrials may be responsible for humankind's technological development. An idea he says he has added to the plot of his upcoming movie Prometheus. If these theories hold true, perhaps the best evidence awaits us on the moon.
The scientists write:
Although there is only a tiny probability that alien technology would have left traces on the moon in the form of an artifact or surface modification of lunar features, this location has the virtue of being close, and of preserving traces for an immense duration.