At the recent TED 2010 conference, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) founder Frank Drake proposed that humanity needs to do more to search for alien intelligences. His latest suggestion is that we move the search for intelligent life into the very depths of space where another species might be found. According to Drake, mankind should establish a listening post about 82 billion kilometers off-planet.
The upshot of this deep-space listening post is that electromagnetic signals to and from this listening post would be easier to detect, thanks to the amplifying “gravitational lensing” effect of our sun. We would therefore be able to receive signals from further away from Earth, as well as send friendly signals deeper into space. However, the downside of this plan is establishing the listening post in the first place. At current space travel speeds, it would take a spacecraft literally hundreds of years to reach the 82 billion kilometer location.
Source: New Scientist