Wagner is an undergrad, but one majoring in space exploration and working as a research tech at the LRO Science Operations Center, working with the images he and Davies suggest might be a good start for a crowd-sourced search for aliens.
Would aliens have landed on the moon instead of in Area 51?
Except for the last, a place like the moon, where aliens could land and mine what they needed would be much better suited for a rest and replenishment stop than simply orbiting a planet from which every ounce of water, fuel or females would have to be lifted at great expense in power and fuel.
Landing on the moon – whose gravitational field is one-sixth that of Earth and therefore would make takeoffs and landings far less expensive, would be much more efficient, especially for a mother ship capable of landing once, mining what it needed, and taking off again rather than making dozens of shorter trips into Earth's much deeper gravity well, the two theorize.
The chance that alien explorers did come to Earth for a rest or to observe primates in their pre-space-flight developmental stages is small, Davies and Wagner admit. At least, the chance that they left definitive evidence of their presence on the moon is small.
That chance is at least as good – and much less expensive and time-consuming to investigate, however – than the chance aliens not only broadcast radio signals our way and that we could recognize and interpret those signals using existing radio telescopes and community-science projects such as SETI@home (which distributes bits of data to be analyzed to screen savers installed on hundreds of thousands of volunteered PCs) or the Galaxy Zoo (which sends pictures of individual galaxies to more than 150,000 volunteers and asks a series of questions that allow them to classify each according to shape, size, configuration and other standardized descriptions).
Davies and Wagner's assumption that it would be possible and cheap to find alien artifacts on the moon is based on the 192TB of data gathered so far by the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter, an observation satellite that orbits the moon every two hours, photographing its surface with a range of sophisticated sensors and broadcasting the result back to Earth.