Scientists want to build a laser that can drive an extraterrestrial civilization and bring it to Earth.
A new research paper from a MIT graduate student suggests that humanity could theoretically construct an infrared laser that could be both hot and bright enough to attract the attention of intelligent civilizations if it were directed to neighboring exoplanets. . James Clark, the lead author of the study, believes that "it will certainly attract attention".
"This would be a challenging but not impossible project," Clark said in a statement. "The types of lasers and telescopes that are built today can produce a detectable signal, so that an astronomer can take a look at our star and immediately see something unusual in its spectrum." I do not know if smart creatures around the sun. they would be their first hypothesis, but they would surely attract further attention. "
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The study, which was published in The Astrophysical Journal, warns that the likelihood of contact is low with current methods and technology, but progress in the coming years could make it possible.
"While the likelihood of closing a handshake with a nearby extraterrestrial intelligence is low with current survey methodologies, progress in full-scale investigations for SETI and other purposes can reduce the average time to a handshake at decades or centuries, after which these laser systems can close links at kbps-Mpbs data rates, "the abstract readings of the study. "The next big gap to be faced in the search for extraterrestrial lasers is the expansion of spectral research in the infrared, where most of the terrestrial communication and high power lasers are made".
The research suggests that a laser, 1 to 2 megawatts in strength and coming from a telescope at least 100 feet long, directed into space, could attract the attention of civilizations up to 20,000 light years from Earth.
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"If we were to successfully close a handshake and start communicating, we could flash a message, at a rate of about a few hundred bits per second, that would come in a few years," Clark added in the statement.
Despite the excitement of building a 20,000 light-years away laser, there are inherent safety issues, Clark said, including the inherent power created by the laser
(a flow density of about 800 watts of power per square meter, which is close to that of the Sun) and the perspective of the beam that damages people's vision if they look directly at the beam, even if it is not visible.
"If I wanted to build this on the far side of the moon, where nobody lives or orbites, then that could be a safer place to do it," Clark added. "In general, this was a feasibility study – whether this is a good idea or not, it's a discussion for future work."
In the end, Clark and the co-author of the studio, Kerri Cahoy, believe that a telescopic beacon could help contact the aliens if they were to help make the Sun strange, effectively emitting a glow, making any intelligent civilization sit and take notice.
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"With current detection methods and tools, it is unlikely that we would really be lucky enough to imagine a flash of light, assuming that extraterrestrials exist and are doing them," Clark noted. "However, because the infrared spectra of the exoplanets are studied for traces of gas that indicate the vitality of life, and since full-scale surveys reach a higher coverage and become more rapid, we can be more confident that, if ET is telephoning, the we will detect. "
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