Skip to comments.Cosmic 'lighthouses' could reveal alien life
Posted on 08/21/2013 11:02:40 AM PDT by LibWhacker
Aliens may be trying to communicate with Earth by flashing blinking lasers towards our planet like a cosmic lighthouse, astronomers believe.
Laser scientists at the Vienna University of Technology are searching for faint but repetitive light signals from the distant reaches of space, in the hope of identifying signals sent out by extraterrestrials, according to Astrobiology Magazine.
Because of their ability to transmit signals over vast distances, lasers have long been considered a possible means of contact by alien species.
But while astronomers have searched tens of thousands of stars for laser signals in the past without identifying any signs of life these previous studies have sought to intercept very intense bursts of light so powerful they are clearly artificial.
In contrast, the method being carried out by Walter Leeb and colleagues is designed to pick up laser signals which are much fainter, but appear at regular intervals over an extended period of time.
The researchers are developing technology which can detect signals as weak as a single photon (light particle) appearing every few billionths of a second.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
Holy Smokes! The aliens would have to have very good aim to hit earth with a laser from light years away. You thought the US hitting a satellite with a missile was incredible? That would be child's play compared to trying to hit our tiny planet with a laser, repeatedly. They would have a hard time hitting our solar system repeatedly. Here is why:
Our entire galaxy is in motion. Everything in the galaxy is in motion and not all of the motion is directly relative to the other. The solar system is moving through our galaxy's arm. The arm of our galaxy (all the stars and stuff) are moving around our galaxy. Our earth is moving around our sun. AND all of this has to be timed so that the laser light has to be fired to where we will be when it gets to us in several light years (10 to 100?).
This is one of the reasons that communication and visitation between interstellar beings is unlikely.... space and time are a killer for neighbors. By the time one race realizes that another race could exist in another part of the galaxy, the information might be thousands of years old. It would take us a few thousand years to reach out to them (at light speed) with any sort of communique. We would have to calculate the communication shot to get to them a thousand years in the future.
By the time any species got around to visiting the other, one or both could likely be exinct. We have only been capable of interstellar communication (extremely limited) since about the 60s (40 years). We have only existed as intellectuals for about 10K years (and that's debatable).
If it takes us 2 thousand years to exchange an idea with an alien species, unless we figure out how to bend space (warp), there could be hundreds of thousands of other intelligent beings out there and we'll never be close enough to talk or visit before one race or the other or both no longer exist (say over hundreds of thousands or even millions of years in earth time).
Why not just put a message in the light. Isn’t that how fiber optic cables work?
That guy is sending a clear message.
“If it takes us 2 thousand years to exchange an idea with an alien species, unless we figure out how to bend space (warp), there could be hundreds of thousands of other intelligent beings out there and we’ll never be close enough to talk or visit before one race or the other or both no longer exist (say over hundreds of thousands or even millions of years in earth time).”
Of course that’s just as likely as anything else. On the other hand, they could have 50,000 year natural lifespans or have beaten natural death completely and plan their projects by million year periods.
very well put. i was thinking the same thing but you explained it a lot smoother than i could.
Who knew, I've been seeing faint (and some not so faint) light signals every night when I check out the sky-this guys either a genius or a simpleton but whatever he is there's Sum Ting Wong, somewhere.
Physics was never my strong suit, but at “light speed” wouldn’t communication be instant? (for the message or person doing the light speed traveling).
Not sure how it would translate to a target that was many light years away but, " the "pencil beam" directly generated by a common helium-neon laser would spread out to a size of perhaps 500 kilometers when shone on the Moon (from the distance of the earth)" [Wiki]. So, hitting a solar system that was 40 light years away, say, might not be that much of a problem for an advanced civilization. But all your points are pretty good ones. It wouldn't be a piece of cake, when everything is taken into account, that's for sure! Personally, I don't believe this "new" approach is going to have any more success than the others because if advanced civilizations weren't extremely rare and extremely spread out in both space and time, we would have heard from them by now, imho.
Think of all the signals we missed because we weren’t looking!
We can “laser spam” them! Who cares if they reply! Spam Spam Spam!
Hmmm unless all the alien civilizations that broadcast their presence like a lighthouse have been destroyed by other alien civilizations and the smart ones are the ones who stay quietly tucked away in their own corner of the universe.
I was going to say something but you beat me to it.
(And yet most of ‘em probably disbelieve in God...and would dismiss the Bible as a symbolic ‘lighthouse’)
This is pretty stupid. A laser is a very pointed, directed, coherent beam. It doesn’t spread out. But that means that it has to be aimed with extreme accuracy, as another poster points out, taking into consideration the motion of our solar system and theirs, plus the time for the signal to travel.
When they receive 2 or 3 photons with regularity, they will cry “we discovered life on other planets”
Stupid? Back atcha. ALL laser beams spread out.
You know, we’ve made attempts to contact alien civilizations. Of course, given the vast distances involved, they could hardly have succeeded yet, even if there are intelligences out there to receive them.
I wonder, though, do our scientists believe that these intelligences will be friendly. The known history of advanced civilizations contacting primitive ones has not been happy for the primitive ones.
The quarantine barrier is imposed from without ... look all you want, but you can only see what light and other signals are approved to pass through the the quarantine barrier. Maybe in a few centuries things will change ... meanwhile, hang by your thumbs and write if you get work.
In fact, that's what I like about their idea.
The eventual 'shotgun' pattern developed by the laser beam over great distances and the sensitivity of their new equipment in detecting 'lased' light.
In some ways distance, to a certain point, is a help with this method.
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What’s the propagation time for gravity?
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